Mixed reactions have trailed the decision of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to postpone the 2020 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and TEF forum to 2021.
According to the official statement, the decision is a response to the current global crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the obvious limitations it could cause to the programme.
It stated, “In response to the current crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the entrepreneurship-focused African philanthropy, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has announced the difficult decision to postpone the 6th edition of its Entrepreneurship Programme and the TEF Forum until 2021.
“Given the paramount importance of public health and safety, this sadly is the only appropriate course of action.”
The foundation made the announcement on April 2, via its official twitter handle, just 24 hours after applications close on April 1.
To compensate for the postponement, the foundation announced that free training will be provided on TEFConnect for entrepreneurs and start-ups, while TEF works with policymakers and development finance institutions to galvanise additional support for entrepreneurs, after the pandemic.
“TEFConnect will also host critical information around the pandemic to safeguard the health and safety of all Africans, as well as curate impact stories from African entrepreneurs creating innovative solutions to tackle the coronavirus outbreak” the statement added.
Some of the selected applicants and mentors who received the mail of the postponement took to their twitter handles to commend the foundation, particularly for sparing applicants the troubles of applying again in 2021.
Joe Afolayan took to his twitter handle to commend the decision which he described as an “excellent decision”
Earlier received two emails from @TonyElumeluFDN as a Mentor that the 2020 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme is now postponed till 2021 due to the corona virus epidemic. Excellent Decision! #StaySafeNigeria #StaySafeAfrica #StayHomeSaveLives
— Joe Afolayan (@jafolayan) April 3, 2020
Several others also took to their handles, lamenting having to wait another year for the programme to commence. They, however, acknowledged that it was a critical and necessary decision given the situation the continent has to battle with.
What you should know
TEF is an African private-sector led organization focused on empowering Africans entrepreneurs with the end goal of creating more jobs on the continent.
The foundation, in 2014, launched the TEF entrepreneurship programme, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years, create jobs and add $10 billion in revenue to Africa’s economy.
Applications are opened on January 1, every year and run for 90 days, during which applications are received from the intending participants a well as intending mentors, who are supposed to be seasoned entrepreneurs.
Out of over 200,000 applications received across 54 African countries, 1000 entrepreneurs are selected, go through the programme and are empowered.
Some beneficiaries of this programme include; Tunde Ayilara, CEO Wara cakes; Mavis Nduchwa, CEO Chabana farms; Nkem Okocha, founder of Mamamoni; Edmond Nonie, founder Trade Africa; Ifedayo Durosinmi Etti, author and entrepreneur, among others.