TEF, Google announce support for African entrepreneurs

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Google have announced the inaugural Google.org Fellowship to provide one more million Africans access to TEFConnect. This was announced recently at the TEF headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.

The fellowship is building on an initial $3 million grant by Google.org to support the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme by empowering extra 500 African women to start or scale up their businesses. The partnership is aimed at empowering young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries, the is the first Google.org Fellowship in Africa.

Nine full-time Google employees, including software engineers, UI/UX researchers and policy experts, will work with the foundation to design and build an upgraded version of the TEFConnect platform.

“To further support the effort, this year, nine Google employees from Africa and Europe will devote six months of their time and expertise to TEF as part of the first Google.org Fellowship in Sub-Saharan Africa. Composed of engineers, user experience (UX) specialists and business and marketing managers, these Googlers will work with TEF full-time, pro bono, to build a new TEFConnect platform, equipped with new tools to help entrepreneurs access the resources they need to succeed,” Google said in a report.

Since its inception, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme initiative has supported over 15,000 African entrepreneurs and disbursed over $85 million in seed capital to date to support small business growth across Africa.

CEO, Jesu Puro Water and TEF beneficiary, Lungile Marhungane, said: “Before the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, my water company suffered financial setbacks. Since TEF support, I have purchased new machines and impacted more communities to ease the water purification process. I deliver clean water to villages that lack access to clean water at an affordable price. TEF grant was a dream come true for a great opportunity and me. More people should partake, this is the most innovative platform in Africa.”

Also speaking, TEF’s co-founder, Dr Awele Elumelu said: “We are pleased to continue to share our unique ability and platform to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa with like-minded institutions like Google.org which share in our commitment to empowering young African entrepreneurs. It will be exciting to see the ways in which the refreshed TEFConnect platform will continue to provide a space for growth, personal development and meaningful exchange for African entrepreneurs. In line with our founding philosophy of Africapitalism, we believe that entrepreneurs are the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.”

Google.org’s Global Head of Technology, Jen Carter, said: “We are delighted to kick off our first Google.org Fellowship in Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation does so much to empower African entrepreneurs, and we are thrilled to be able to lend the expertise of Googlers to expand the reach of the TEFConnect platform to an additional 1 million entrepreneurs.”

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Gbenga Ajao
Gbenga Ajao is a journalist. He has garnered experience in print, electronic and new media. He is passionate about mobile and web technology.

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