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The most comprehensive free guide for TEF2021 Grant Application

The TONY ELUMELU ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME is an annual entrepreneurship programme aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and funds thousands of businesses with a non-refundable seed capital of $5000 across 52 African countries that have potentials of boosting the African economy.

The foundation has started receiving application from the first of January, 2020 and ends on March 31, 2021.

Apply for the application here

In answering questions to accelerator programmes like this, my friend Olugbenga Ogunbowale and fellow TEF Entrepreneur has put out a guide to help interested individuals through the application process below.

How to win the $5,000 Tony Elumelu Grant in 2021 (Updated!) by Olugbenga Ogunbowale


Who wants to be a millionaire?

From January 1 to March 31, entrepreneurs like you with an exciting business or idea, can apply to win $5,000 and training all thanks to the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Just like the application process in 2020, this year’s TEF application is a combination of psychometric & personality tests in addition to business and financial knowledge assessment. Not to scare you but it’s a bit like GMAT and IELTS with a 45 mins clock counting down every sec. But I get ahead of myself.

This 100% free guide is even better than the one I wrote in 2020. I am literally going to guide you through the registration process, then to the psychometric, personality & financial knowledge assessment and then do a recap of the entire structure of the program.

Why am I qualified to write this?

1. I have a B.Sc. in Psychology

2. I am a 2017 Tony Elumelu fellow

3. I guided over 20 people to become fellows in 2019

4. I co-founded Grant Master in 2020, a service that connects organizations in need of grants with the top 5% of grant writers.

5. Grant Master has onboarded 54 top grant writers who have won $4.5M in grants

6. I pitched Grant Master at Global investment Summit 2020 and won, attracting $250,000 in perks from brands like Amazon & Google

With my credentials out of the way, let’s get down to business.

I wrote this guide with 2 categories of people in mind

1. Folks who applied last year (and qualified for the next phase) and are still wondering whether they should reapply

2. Folks who are applying for the very first time

Category 1: If you applied successfully in 2020, you need to reconfirm

I know this is not the answer you were looking for but you are not automatically guaranteed of your place yet. Earlier in 2020, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) announced the postponement of the 6th edition of its Entrepreneurship Programme and the TEF Forum as a result of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

To this end the 6th and 7th edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will hold jointly in 2021. As such entrepreneurs who applied for the 2020 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and have been advised to proceed to the next stage, are kindly requested to review and reconfirm their current submissions via

The portal will open for access and review of previous submissions on February 1st 2021 and reconfirmation must occur by March 31st 2021. It is mandatory for all 2020 applicants to review and reconfirm their submissions.
Once again, if you applied in 2020, do not submit a fresh application. Reconfirm first. And then, you can reapply if TEF says you need to.

If you already have a tefconnect account, follow the instructions below:

Enter your registered email and click on “Forgot Password” to reset your password.
• Once you have reset your password, sign in to access the Home Page.
• Click on “PROGRAMMES” at the top of the page. You can also change your language here.
• Click APPLY on the TEF 2021 Programme.
• Go ahead and fill in your Application form for the programme.
• Click SUBMIT.
• Your eligibility status TO CONTINUE OR NOT will be displayed on the screen and sent to your email.

Category 2: you are applying for the first time

  • REGISTER HERE and fill in your First Name, Last Name, email address and select a password. Tick the box to Accept our Data Collection Clause & Privacy Policy and Click on “Join TEFConnect Now” button
    • You will receive an email verification link (sent to your provided email address). Click on the CONFIRM EMAIL button.
    • It will lead you back to a landing page to SIGN IN with your selected email and password details.
    • Select the profile you would like to be registered as i.e., Entrepreneur, Mentor, or Investor/Partner…… (note to be eligible to apply, you need to be registered as an Entrepreneur)
    • Set up your profile on the platform and click on “SAVE & CONTINUE”.
    • This action will lead you to the home page. Click on “PROGRAMMES” at the top of the page. You can also change your language here.
    • Click APPLY on the TEF 2021 Programme.

Glossary of Key terms In The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme

It’s a really long list but I have done the heavy lifting for you. Here’s what you need to know:

“Buffer List”

means the list of Programme Participants who have been scored/ranked closest to the Selected Entrepreneurs;



means an ongoing endeavour for profit carried on for no more than five (5) years as at the time of Application, whether registered as a company, sole proprietorship, partnership or other legal entity incorporated or registered in Africa and carrying on business and operating in Africa, with an African (or Africans together) owning directly/indirectly more than 50% of the voting or ownership rights in the same;


“Seed Capital”

means the funding made available to only Selected Entrepreneurs. The first stage is a non-returnable investment of the local currency equivalent of $5,000 (based on the Central Bank of Nigeria exchange rate as at the date of selection), which is paid into the Business Bank Account of Selected Entrepreneurs; the second stage is a returnable investment, which entrepreneurs will apply for and be considered for based on the viability of their business;


“Selected Entrepreneurs”

means Programme Participants who are selected from the Pitching Competition to receive the Seed Capital;


“Unsuccessful Applicants”

means Applicants who are not accepted to participate in any stage of the Programme.

Application Process

When you take the online assessment, you will either be successful or unsuccessful.

Successful applicants will be categorised into one of the following categories:

a. Start-Up,

b. Innovator,

c. Disruptor

Unsuccessful Applicants will be categorised as Preparatory and will be directed to take the Free Startup Enterprise Toolkit on TEFConnect and will be eligible to reapply for other TEF Programmes.

The entire program looks like this:

Verification & Onboarding

Successful Applicants will have to be verified and onboarded. Verification will run for the duration of the Startup Enterprise Toolkit™. Successful Applicants who do not meet the verification requirements will be removed from the Programme and notified of removal via email.



Programme Participants will have access to a Mentor to provide guidance and support to them during the Programme.


Business Training

Once Successful Applicants are onboarded, they proceed to the training stage. The Startup Enterprise Toolkit™ will run for a period of 12 weeks. Upon completion of the last week of Startup Enterprise Toolkit™ Programme Participants will be assessed and top scoring Programme Participants will proceed to the Business Plan preparation stage.


Business Plan Preparation & Submission

Programme Participants shortlisted from the business training stage will be given 2 weeks to develop and submit a business plan via TEFConnect for review and assessment, based on relevant metrics including feasibility and sustainability.


Pitching Competition

Top scoring Programme Participants shortlisted from the business plan stage will participate in the Pitching Competition where they will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges.


Seed Capital

The Selected Entrepreneurs from the Pitching Competition will be announced on the Foundation’s website and also notified via email.


It’s time to move to the business end of things…

The online application

It has four parts:

(1) Personal Information

(2) Business Information

(3) Cognitive Assessment

(4) Declaration

ONE: Personal Information

Asides other basic bio-data like questions, you will be required to upload a form of ID (international passport, driver’s license, Residency or Citizen’s Card, Voters Card, Tax ID). Please have your chosen form of ID scanned and ready for upload in .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .gif or .doc format before you begin. The portal rejects heavy files (2MB and above). I had to compress mine to 200kb before it was accepted.

Ensure that your personal information matches information on your government-approved ID card provided and attach all requested documents (valid identity card and photo headshot).

TWO: Business Information

Tell us about your business idea ?*

Give a little description of your startup idea (or ideas). If you do not have a business idea, then describe an industry or customer problem that you might want to build a business around (minimum 50 characters)

To answer this question, I suggest you deploy your elevator pitch in one or two sentences. Here is what this looks like:

Nothing is more frustrating than having a brilliant idea but no money to start a business. Lack of financial capital is the single biggest challenge facing African entrepreneurs according to the world bank.

This is why Grant Master connects ambitious organizations in need of debt free and equity free funding with the top 5% of Grant Writers. We’ll match you with a vetted veteran grant writer in under 24 hours. Our grant writers have raised $4.5M in grants.

How many years of business start-up experience do you have (this can be trading or anything)?

It’s a drop down. Just select the appropriate option here.

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