The UBA Foundation and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund in Kenya have signed a partnership to support Kenyan entrepreneurs who participate in the fourth cycle of the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship development program.
The UBA Foundation is the CSR arm of the UBA Group, a pan-African bank that is in 19 countries. It focuses on economic empowerment, education, and the environment, while the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship program is a flagship of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) . The program is an investment of $100 million that aims to nurture 10,000 African startups to create 1 million jobs and generate $10 billion in revenue growth over ten years. This will be through funding, training, mentorship, counseling and networking for the startups to trade across Africa and beyond.
The CEO of the Youth Fund Josiah Moriasi said the organization had advanced Kshs 12.2 billion to 1.4 million Kenyans through their core products such as LPO financing, talanta loans (for creatives), and startup loans. Ronald Osumba, Chairman of the Youth Fund, said that while the Fund had been in the news for some wrong reasons, it had also supported many young successful people, not just with finance, but also business support, market linkages, and business spaces. They were also working to reduce the failure rate of startups through market aggregation models in counties around the country.
This year the TEF program is already seeing a record number of entries from 54 countries since the window for applications opened on January 1. It runs up to March 1, 2018, for applicants to submit their startups or business ideas and the selected entrepreneurs will participate in the 2018 cycle that runs from May 1 to December 2018.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation program has 3,000 alumni now, and over 200 Kenyans have benefited from the program, each having received $5,000 (~Kshs 500,000) as seed capital for their businesses which they have then used to scale and grow into other product and service lines. This year, UBA Kenya officials hope to enroll more Kenyan in the program as the country has run a distant second to Nigeria in past applications and enrollment.
The application process is rigorous but it pays off. TEF entrepreneurs get twelve weeks of training, mentorship, $5,000 of seed capital and access to the alumni network and further funding opportunities. Kenyan entrepreneurs who complete the application to the TEF site can also apply to the Youth Fund for another $5,000 in matched funding.