Tony Elumelu Foundation Releases 2020 Annual Letter


The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, has released its 2020 Annual Letter titled “THE POWER OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AMIDST UNCERTAINTY”.

The report, which was delivered in the form of a personal letter from TEF Founder, Mr Tony O. Elumelu CON, reiterates that equipping young people with the tools and the opportunities to succeed through entrepreneurship, is the only sustainable, dignified way to create a path to prosperity for all.

Launched across TEF’s digital platforms, the Annual Letter showcases remarkable achievements that include supporting a growing and dynamic entrepreneur ecosystem of 1 million Africans, expanding strategic partnerships to scale the existing TEF Entrepreneurship Programme to reach more small businesses across all 54 African countries, and other milestones by the Foundation to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and provide support for young entrepreneurs.

The 2020 Annual Letter begins with reflections from the Founder dating from the inception of the Foundation and its raison d’être, to the global pandemic, “In 2020, the world stopped, but we did not. When we launched the Tony Elumelu Foundation in 2010, we did something new in Africa – we “democratised” luck. In my own entrepreneurial journey, I knew luck had played an important role, and I was determined that others, many others, would get those same chances. We created an institution with a single focus: young African entrepreneurs.”

Through its digital hub,, the Tony Elumelu Foundation successfully supported millions of Africans, addressing the unique needs of an entrepreneurial community that continues to be challenged by the pandemic. “We curated world-class training, offered expert-led masterclasses with institutions such as Yale University, and brought project management skills and mental health coping mechanism to African entrepreneurs, taking care of their mind and spirit, as we assisted them to restructure their business for the new normal.”

The Letter further narrates 2020 highlights including TEF’s €20 million partnership with the European Union and the Organisation of African and Caribbean States (OACPS) to support more than 2,500 women entrepreneurs: “The statistics on female entrepreneurship in Africa are chastening – women make up 58% of the continent’s self-employed population but earn 34% less profits on average. Our goal is for more women to participate in economic development, realise their full potential and accelerate economic inclusion.”

Other notable accomplishments include the TEF-UNDP Mali Entrepreneurship Programme rolled out in the middle of conflict, political instability and insecurity in the Sahel country: “Over 1.7 million people have been displaced by violence in Mali since 2012. Our Entrepreneurship Programme demonstrates that entrepreneurship is the singular most effective tool to creating jobs, opportunity, economic hope, stability, peace, sustained growth and poverty reduction.”

Now in its 7th year, the US$100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered over 9,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries with world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 and global networking and market opportunities.

In 2021, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, will identify, train, mentor and fund over 3,500 entrepreneurs across Africa.  The Programme remains open to all entrepreneurs across the African continent, both new start-ups and existing businesses operating in any sector. Applications end March 31. All aspiring beneficiaries are encouraged to immediately apply on

Click here for the full TEF 2020 Annual Letter