As written by Nzube Okonkwo an alumnus of TEEP.
The TONY ELUMELU ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME is an annual programme that identifies and funds over one thousand entrepreneurs in Africa whose ideas has the potential of creating jobs and prosperity.
This fund comes in two tranches, the first $5000 is a grant referred to as a seed capital which is non refundable while the second tranche of $5000 comes as equity investment to entrepreneurs whose ideas scaled the startup phase. This second tranche is refundable either as loan or as a convertible equity.
TONY ELUMELU ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME will start receiving application from the first of January, 2018 and as a benefactor of this scheme, I will be sharing some tips on how best you can answer the application questions.
You can apply for the application here
In answering questions to accelerator programmes like this TONY ELUMELU ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM, you have to imbibe the tactic called FAQS which is an acronym for Facts, Analogies, Quotes and Stories.
Application Questions and Tips for Answering.
What is the name of your company?
Tip: here you are expected to write the name of your company whether registered or not registered. It is not fundamental you apply with a registered company but however, if you application sails through, you will be required to register your company before you get the grant.
Tip: write down the country of your business residence
Tip: Here you are expected to write down your selling factors. You can think of this as your personal elevator pitch. Don’t start telling them your name or age or even where you come from, all that is already captured in the contact session. Instead tell them what drives you and why you think you are the best person to receive the fund.
E.g. I am a graduate of computer science from Federal Polytechnic Oko. I have great passion for combating climate change in the world. This passion has led me into starting up a company that will recycle materials that contribute to global warming when not disposed well.
(It could be longer than this depending on your narrative but do not exceed the word limit provided on the application portal and be brief as much as possible)
Leadership Skill & Experience
Tip: Nobody wants to give money to irresponsible people, so in this section you are expected to highlight your leadership skills or previous work experience. It may not really be super-duper leadership skill or work experience, they just want to know if you have been responsible for any progress in the past. So instead of writing I worked as the CEO of x company or as an intern in x company you are expected to highlight also your achievement(s) in those roles
During my internship as an assistant to the customer care officer in x company, I developed a feedback form through which the company learnt of our customers experience and designed the system to better suit them.
Tip: here you are expected to talk of any personal achievements. Was there something you built or help facilitated that you are very much proud of, are you currently working on a project to change people’s life or create new jobs. Here is the section to narrate all that and it is advisable to stay around the scope of what you intend to use for your application.
E.g. I built an online drop shipping company where I buy from Amazon and resell to my customers and also deliver to their door steps. My last client gave me 30% extra of what I charged him due to the fact I met his satisfaction and even more. I am very proud of this achievement because I intend to open more delivery outlets across the nation.
Tip: the elevator pith is the life of your application, here is what determine to the most part the success of your application.
So what is an Elevator Pitch?
This is a 50 word summary that covers investor interested tenets of your current business or proposed business idea. Let’s say you meet Bill gate in an elevator and he has just 30 seconds before the elevator hits his departure floor, what are the very words you want to tell him to make him give you an appointment or want to invest in your idea.
Don’t start telling him how skillful you are or your leadership skill, this is not the time for all that. Go straight to your product, the problem it’s solving, the demand and your market share.
So here is a brief example of an elevator pitch:
Do you know that the recycling industry is currently worth 500Billion dollars and yet about eight million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean on a yearly basis causing water pollution which drives sea life into extinction? My company vents into seas and recycles these plastics into wearables.
Tip: in this section you are now expected to elaborate your elevator pitch above. Talk more about the product, how will you produce? How will you reach out to customers? The current market worth, your market share and long term goals.
Tip: here you are expected to say something very incredible or fascinating about your business idea, you shouldn’t sound generic or myopic.
You can share a wonderful opportunity or niche that exists in your business, a customer rating, quote figures of people that is already benefitting from your business or stream of revenue from first investment.
E.g. I have preregistered and accepted payments from one hundred persons who likes my payment application and they are eagerly waiting for the launching date to start making use of it.
Tip: in this section you talk about the problem your product/service is solving. Do magnify your impact and feel free to brag but stay truthful at all cost. It is also advisable to highlight numerical statistics to persons or things your product/service will impact.
E.g. my inventory app will completely eliminate the manual method of taking stocks in both small and big companies. Most companies usually take stock quarterly or yearly which usually takes up to a week to compile and collate stocks, my inventory app is eliminating the need for any manual form of stock checking as the app will give up to date information of stock flow on a daily basis
Tip: Here you will select from a list of option which stage your business is.
Please there is no need to exaggerate as the foundation encourages businesses from 0 -3 years of existence to apply.
Please select your company’s primary industry sector
Tip: here you select from a list which sector best defines your business. It could be manufacturing, Agriculture. Production, services, etc.
Tip: Here you will select from a list the sustainable development goals your business addresses. See this link to learn about the SDGs http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html
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Leave your comment below if you have questions as regards this. Thanks.