At least 35 young Liberian entrepreneurs have been selected for the fifth edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme.
This is the largest number of Liberian beneficiaries since the inception of the programme in 2015. The number of beneficiaries from Liberia each year was 2, 2, 4, 8 from 2015 thru 2018 respectively.
Out of the 35 Liberian beneficiaries for this year (2019), African Development Bank (AfDB) sponsored 20 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), while the TEF sponsored the rest.
Those selected were, Mark Allen Gbalazeh, ICT; Evon K. Jackson, Commercial and Retailer; Aaron Decontee Johnson, ICT; Albert Hassan Kemokai, Commercial and Retailer; Stephen Kerkula, Waste Management; Jeff King, Transporter; Charles G. Garmodeh Kpan, Jr., ICT; Loila Alison Pewu, Commercial and Retailer; Jallah Deconktee Musulyn Striker, Consulting; Roland Seh Washington, ICT; Joseph Charles White, Transportation; and Armstrong Zourpeawon, Education and Training.
The rest include, Samuel A. Brown, Waste Management; Jeremiah Lloyd Cooper, ICT; Levi W. Cooper, Agri-Business Farming; Carol None-Doe, Media and Entertainment; Swaliho M. Fofana, Transportation; Jeremiah Jay Johnson, ICT; Ansu A. Kamara, Financial Services; David N.Nyeneh Katiah, Professional Services; Mohammed Odu Massalee, Waste Management; Lionel S. Moses, Financial Services; Theophilus Julukon Julukon Nelson, II., Consulting; Elton Barzee Reeves, Agri-business farming; Bemon N. Ruth, Commercial and Retail; Isaac Epowede Sart, Commercial and Retail; Misheal B. Sorie, Consulting; Christopher Conte Swen, ICT; Jeremiah Gbelu Totoe, Agri-business farming; Kangoma M. Turay, Agric-business farming; Bill Emmanuel Walker, Commercial and retail and Victor V.S. Willie, Waste management.
They are among 3,050 beneficiaries of the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering young African entrepreneurs, drawn from all 54 African countries, selected to join the fifth cycle of the US$100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The announcement was made recently at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja in Nigeria, following a presentation of the selection process by Accenture Development Partners. This year, over 216,000 applications were received, an increase from last year's 151,000.
Nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45%, illustrating the Foundation's strategy to achieve greater gender balance, according to a press release issued by the Foundation.
The selected Entrepreneurs will each receive nonrefundable $5,000 of seed capital, access to mentors, and a 12-week business training programme, directly focused on the needs of African entrepreneurs.
On July 26 - 27 2019, they will gather at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.
TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, who celebrated his birthday on 22nd March 2019, said: "Every year, we face an almost impossible task - to select 1,000 entrepreneurs, from the hundreds of thousands that apply. Our entrepreneurs are hungry to effect change.
We know we are only scratching the surface, we see the depth of entrepreneurial talent, that all of us - government, business indeed African society, must harness to transform our economies and livelihoods. We must rally together to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent".
The incoming CEO of TEF, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, said, "The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has successfully empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in its first five years of the 10- year programme.
Marking the fifth anniversary of the 10-year programme, this year's selection includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation's partners in addition to the Foundation's annual commitment of 1,000, bringing the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to date to 7,520.
The Foundation's growing list of partners includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Federal Republic of Benin (Seme City), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB), according to a release.