The article was first published by Tom-Chris Emewulu on LinkedIn.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I understand what it feels like to yearn for a lifeline, to hope for a ‘big break’, to look forward to enjoying some luck.” – Tony O. Elumelu (CON)
Many entrepreneurs (and aspiring entrepreneurs) have reached out to me for advice on how to put their stuff together for The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program. Consequently, I want to share few tips that answer some frequently asked questions, in hope that it might be useful to a larger audience.
Before we get into it, I want to quickly mention that this is not an attempt to speak for or represent the Elumelu foundation. The tips below are my views on how you might improve your chances of having your business selected.
Again, be aware that the program is competitive. Previous editions have seen about 10% of all applicants selected. This is not to discourage you, however, it is to help you plan to put your best foot forward.
With that in mind, let’s begin, shall we?
Q1: What is The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program about?
A1: Launched in 2015, The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship and represents a 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.
Q2: Who is qualified to apply?
A2: Anyone above the age of 18 and is a legal resident or citizen of an African country, with a for-profit business that is based in Africa, and is 0-3 years old can apply to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program.
Q3: What’s in it for me if I’m selected?
A3: If you’re selected, the programme provides you with the following tools for your business success:
a) 12 weeks of intensive online training which guides in creating and managing your business
b) Access to mentors to guide you through the early stages of your venture
c) $5,000 in seed capital to prove the concept, with access to further funding
d) Access to a formidable network of other entrepreneurs
Q4: How can I ensure that my application is accepted?
A4: The Foundation has structured the application to test for various key elements:
i. Who you are and the reason behind your decision to be an entrepreneur
Here they want to see who you are and what made you choose entrepreneurship. Who you are do not really mean what you’re called (i.e your name), but what you have achieved before this time. So this is your self-pitch – keep it nice, precise and focused.
ii. Your leadership skills
Business involves leadership – leading your team, leading yourself, managing interests and so on. Ensure to highlight what leadership abilities you have that makes you the person to succeed in this venture.
iii. The story that brought you to this very moment
Every entrepreneur has a story. Maybe you have built something so good that people fell in love with or you have produced services that everyone you know loved, tell it here. Like begets like; if you have achieved something impressive before, chances are, you can replicate that success again.
iv. Your understanding of your business or idea and the market
This is the core aspect of your application. Firstly, you must know your business to describe it in 50 words. The reason is that if you can’t deconstruct whatever complexity that’s involved in building your idea or business, and communicate that in simple, understandable language, you don’t have a business.
Also, you have to understand how the parts (process) of the business/idea work to describe it fully. Paint a picture of how the service starts and ends.
Furthermore, you need to know who your customers are and how to access them, how the business is going to make money, what you are willing to ask for each unit of service or product, and when you expect to break-even (the point at which cost or expenses and revenue are equal). Additionally, be clear about the amount of expenditure you expect to incur each month.
Finally, you must know your competitors and what differentiates your business from theirs.
v. The scalability of your business
They want to see that your business can grow to serve many more people at minimal incremental cost (the increase in total costs resulting from an increase in production or other activity). And so you must be able to show that your business can actually grow in authority to serve clients in other regions or countries. Good market research comes in really handy here.
Suffix: Remember to identify how much money that’s been invested in the business or idea so far, and how much revenue the business/idea has generated in return. Remember also to keep your responses within the given word count. Keep your responses straight to the point. Don’t be in a hurry to hit submit; review and spellcheck/proofread your work before submitting. But ultimately, endeavor to start early so you don’t have to rush. Above all, don’t lie in your application.Even if you have no entrepreneurship experience, you can still apply for the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship program. Click To Tweet
Q5: Where can I find the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program application?
A5: The application is located at https://tefconnect.com/
Being an alum of the foundation is a great opportunity for me. The lessons from the online training and forum have been fundamental in this new phase of our work at SFAN, and I cherish the network of entrepreneurs I’ve been immersed in. I wish you well in your journey and look forward to seeing you on the alumni platform soon!