The fellowship builds on the already existing $3 million grant by Google.org to offer assistance for the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
Furthermore, the fellowship plans on providing access to TEFConnect to one million added African entrepreneurs.
This is in line with TEF’s mission to empower young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries in the continent.
The announcement of the agreed partnership was made during an event held on Wednesday, at the Foundation’s headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, which several African political and business leaders attended.
This partnership is Google.org first fellowship in Africa and will offer several opportunities for the African digital community.
Also, in line with the partnership, nine of Google’s employees which includes software engineers, UI/UX researchers, and policy experts, will work with the Foundation to design and build an upgraded version of the TEFConnect platform.
Currently a marketplace for over a million African entrepreneurs, TEFConnect offers tailored tools, market partnerships and access to coaches and investors to small businesses.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a $100 million initiative which has supported over 15,000 African entrepreneurs and is the largest entrepreneurship programme in Africa.
Speaking on the programme, CEO, Jesu Puro Water, Lungile Marhungane a TEF beneficiary 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. The Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant was a dream come true for me and a great opportunity. More people should partake, this is the most innovative platform in Africa”, Marhungane added.
Empowering a cream of new generation African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and offering job creation across all 54 African countries, TEF has disbursed over $85 million in seed capital to support several small businesses grow across the continent.
According to the co-founder of TEF, Dr. Awele V. Elumelu, “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 who 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”, she added.
In addition to the above statement, Jen Carter, global head of technology at Google.org expressed delight in kick-starting the first Google.org Fellowship in Africa.
“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”, Carter said.
“Google’s commitment in Africa has progressed from sponsoring projects to collaborative partnerships with established African organisations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation, dedicated to developing young African talent. As Africa’s digital economy grows, African entrepreneurs are in a prime position to establish a powerful digital footprint, and this fellowship is one step closer to transforming the landscape” she added.