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Easiest tips in applying for Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programmme 2019

As compiled by Nzube Okonkwo, an alumnus of TEF 

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, 2019 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.


Business Country

Tip: write down the country of your business residence


About Me

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.


Terms and conditions apply


Personal Achievement

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.


Elevator Pitch

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.


Detailed Description

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.


Wow Us

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.


Problem Solved

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


Terms and conditions apply


Development Stage

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

Company Structure

Registered company

BONUS: How to win the $5k grant!

Download now a comprehensive analysis of all the questions in the TEF 2019 Grant application by Ogunbowale Olugbenga, a TEF Alumnus by filling in your details in the form below.

TEF 2019 guide

  • Add country code e.g +234703935****
  • Do you need help in your business? Kindly, leave us a message now (Optional)


Leave your comment below if you have questions as regards this. Thanks.

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50 Tips for Starting Your Own Company

By John Rampton

Starting your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s stressful and pretty much demands your complete focus. On the plus side, it can also be a fulfilling experience professionally and personally.

Here are 50 tips on how to make your business come to life:

1. Do a self-inventory.

Not everyone has what it takes to start a company. That’s not to say that your idea is not brilliant, but are you ready for all the chores that come with it, like cold calling prospects and invoicing them until you’re paid when you start getting clients? It just means that you may not have the personality traits to handle launching a company of your own.

Before investing any time or resources, evaluate yourself and see if you have some the typical traits of an entrepreneur. Are you motivated, able to adapt and confident? Are you resilient?

2. Develop an idea.

Don’t just start a business because something is in vogue and you think commercializing it will make money. Develop a business concept that you’re passionate about related to something that you have experience with. From there, come up with a product or service that you believe can enhance the people’s lives.

3. Test the plausibility.

Once you’ve settled on an idea, figure out how you can make it become a reality. Is the product or service something that people want or need? Can you make a profit selling it? Does the product work?

Related: The 15 Most Popular Online Payment Solutions

4. Write a business plan.

A solid business plan will guide you going forward, even if your plan is to be just a solopreneur or freelancer. It’s also needed for presenting your idea to potential investors. Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation. Learn about how to write a business plan at SBA.gov.

5. Identify your market.

Even though you may have detected some interest in your business, you need to do more homework. Assess the market, targeting the customers most likely to make a purchase. Perform a competitive assessment.

6. Determine the costs.

Do additional research and find out the standard cost factors within this industry. Not only will this help you manage your business more effectively, investors will want to know this.

7. Establish a budget.

Once you determine how much money you’ll have to work with, figure out how much it will take to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan.

Related: Founders Are From Mars, Capital Providers From Venus

8. Find the right investors.

You’re going to need some sort of funding to start off, whether from your savings, credit cards, loans, grants or venture capitalists. Find an investor who shares your passion, someone you believe you can work with.

9. Listen to investors.

Whether you like it, investors do have a say in your company. And you need to listen to their advice or suggestion. But that doesn’t mean you have to do what they tell you.

10. Set up a great support system.

You’re going to be investing a lot of time and resources into your new business venture. Be certain that your family is on board. They must be aware that this process will be challenging financially and emotionally.

11. Determine the legal structure.

Settle on which form of ownership is best for you: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, an S corporation, a nonprofit or a cooperative. Find out more at SBA.gov.

Related: Name That Company to Dazzling Success

12. Select a business name.

Decide on a name that best suits your business. Then check to see if the domain name is available online, as well as if it’s free to use in your county, state and in the country.

13. Register your business name.

If your proposed business name is available, register it with the county clerk, have it trademarked at the state and federal levels and secure a domain name.

14. Take advantage of free resources.

Numerous free resources can offer advice, training and assistance. SBA.gov is a great place to look at to find local resources.

15. Determine tax obligations.

Now it’s time to wrestle with the tax obligations. In the United States, four basic types of business taxes arise: income, self-employment, taxes for employees and excise taxes.

16. Secure permits and licenses.

According to NOLO, you’ll have to pick up a federal employment identification number (unless the company is a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company without employees.) Apply for state licenses. Pick up a local tax registration certificate. File for local permits, if required, such as a conditional use permit or zoning variance.

17. Buy insurance.

Make sure that you arrange for the proper insurance for your business. This will vary according to the type of business. If you’re working from home be sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers theft or damage to business assets, as well as liability for any business-related injuries.

18. Set up the books.

Figure out if you’re using a cash or accrual system, determine the fiscal year for the business and set up a recordkeeping system.

19. Choose a business location.

Select a location that best fits the needs of your business, one that offers an opportunity for growth, the right level of competition and proximity to suppliers. It should also be accessible to customers.

Related: Office Space à la Carte Is on the Menu for Some Entrepreneurs

20. Don’t worry about an office.

If you’re not making any revenue, then don’t concern yourself with an office or warehouse ust yet.

21. A patent can wait.

Patents can cost thousands of dollars. Wait to pursue this route until you have a few customers paying the bills. A patent is less useful if you can’t enforce it or have the money to see it through.

22. Be flexible.

Chances are that your original idea will have to be modified. Being able to pivot and adapt to create what customers want will determine if your business will fail or succeed.

23. Share your ideas with friends and family.

Your nearest and dearest will most likely be the most honest with you about your business. Don’t hesitate to seek their advice and suggestions.

24. Ignore the naysayers.

At the same time, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and someone’s quick jab projecting that your business will fail. Follow the example of French Internet mogul Xavier Niel and ignore them.

Related: When Angel Investors Reject Your Plan

25. Don’t become angry.

If your idea is rejected by customers or investors, don’t just succumb to anger. Find out what they didn’t like, make adjustments and go back to them when you’ve made the changes. There’s the possibility that the timing was wrong as well.

26. Deliver the product or service fast.

Your business is a work in progress and if you launch your product or service quickly, you will be able to build a community of customers who can provide valuable feedback that can help you improve the offerings. In the words of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released too late

27. Offer new products or services.

If you already have customers, be sure to hold on to them by providing new products or services.

28. Be patient.

Always keep in mind that success won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time before you make a profit.

29. Overdeliver at first.

Once you land a new client, be sure to go above and beyond the call of duty for at least the first month. You’ll have this customer hooked from then on.

Related: The Web Is a Content War. Here’s How to Win. (Infographic)

30. Blog all the time.

Don’t be ashamed to share both your triumphs and struggles. Customers will enjoy your honesty.

31. Avoid fights with partners

If you have disagreements with partners, then sever ties as soon as possible. In-house bickering will prevent you from focusing on growing the business.

32. Don’t worry about dilution.

So an investor has required a stake in the company. Recognize the fact that eventually at one point or another you’ll have to give up some control of the business. Accept it and move on.

33. Hire a copywriter.

Unless you’re an excellent writer, hire a copywriter to compose emails for highly targeted customers. A copywriter will also prove handy for press releases and other pieces to spread brand awareness or provide business updates.

Related: 7 Taboos of Business Pitching

34. Prepare for meetings.

When preparing for a meeting with a client, read up on everything that’s available, steeping yourself in information about the industry, that firm’s employees and its competition.

35. Don’t fear the competition.

Don’t bad-mouth the competition when talking to investors or customers. There’s no need to become an object of pity. In fact, talking in this manner might even point customers to a competitor who may offer a product or service that you don’t. Remember, when competition exists, there’s a market for your business. Use that knowledge as inspiration to outperform a rival.

36. Benefit from word-of-mouth.

Nothing beats some good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. Let friends, family members and influencers in your field spread the word about your product or service.

Related: Where the Real Deals Are Ignited at Conferences — the Bar

37. Network.

Don’t be afraid to get out there and show your face to the public, whether at a conference or just being out and about with friend on a Friday night. But try to stay local because travel can dwindle your budget.

38. Provide outstanding customer service.

Interacting with people is a big part of the job. Your business may gain new customers because you made them feel important. For example, Zappos wasn’t the first online store to sell shoes, but the company perfected its customer-service department and won over shoppers.

39. Be sure your website functions.

Potential customers want to know as much about your business as possible and they should be able to quickly access that kind of information on your website.

40. Don’t be overly concerned by the economy.

Some of the best businesses have launched during a recession. In fact, half of the Fortune 500 companies listed in 2009 were founded during such times, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

41. Make sure clients pay their bills.

Always be certain to receive payment for your products or services. Instead of being taken advantage of of, establish a time frame for payment. It also wouldn’t hurt to accept credit cards and have an online payment system set up.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask Candidates’ References

42. Find the right employees.

Hire the right people for the job. Even though it’s your business, you won’t be skilled at every task, which is why you need qualified people to complete the work.

43. Assign responsibilities.

Eelegate attainable tasks to employees. This is all about effective management.

44. Know that honesty is the best policy.

If any issues with employees emerge, be sure that they are addressed. No one enjoys being talked about behind their back.

45. Remember that opposites attract.

Hire people with skills and personalities that are the opposite to yours. They’ll challenge you and will bring different skills and talents to the business that you don’t.

Related: Does a Work-Life Balance Exist for Entrepreneurs? Not Really.

46. Say goodbye to your social life.

You’re going to spend a lot of time devoted to the business. Even if you plan a night out, you may leave early because a lightbulb just went off. Hopefully those closest in your life will understand.

47. Recognize that you’ll be the final person to be paid.

As the CEO, you’re the last to collect a check. That’s just how it works until there’s adequate revenue.

48. Arrive at a useful definition of success.

Just because your business hasn’t made you a millionaire (yet) doesn’t mean that your enterprise is a failure. If you’re able to make some sort of profit doing something that you’re passionate about, isn’t that a success story?

49. Realize when it’s time to move on.

Failure is inevitable. If things aren’t working out and you’ve done all you can, then put aside your pride and close up shop. Something like this is not easy to accept. But it’s for the best.

50. Don’t just rely on the advice of others.

Despite my offering up all of these tips for you, perhaps the most important piece of advice is something learned the hard way: While many people may offer a startup assiistance, recognize that in the end you’re the person running the show and the one responsible for the company’s success and failure. If you understand what worked and what didn’t, you’ll burnish the skills and knowledge to run your business.

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50 Tips for Starting Your Own businessSource: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235903?utm_source=HowTo&utm_medium=site&utm_campaign=iScroll


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