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UniCal VC attracts TEF for students’ entrepreneurial development

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

The new vice chancellor of the University of Calabar (UniCal), Prof Florence Obi, has attracted Africa’s leading philanthropic group, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), to the institution so as to help enhance the entrepreneurial skills of her students.

Our reporter learnt that through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, successful applicants would receive a world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities.

The head of corporate marketing communication for Tell Africa, Onyeyirichi Uchendu, told journalists in Calabar, at the weekend, that the relationship between UniCal and TEF, as managed by Tell Africa, was to explore opportunities where students of the institution would have access to grants as much as US $5000 to start their own ventures even while still studying.

“The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to empowering African entrepreneurs, currently has its applications running on its TEFConnect digital platform for interested applicants of the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, which the university is keen about bringing down to its students.

“This year’s TEF intervention prioritises the economic recovery of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and young African entrepreneurs, following the COVID-19 disruption to economic activities.

“Successful applicants receive world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities. The programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa, both new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector,” Uchendu stated.

According to him, the relationship between UniCal and TEF would see the former supporting the application drive of the Tony Elemelu Foundation (TEF) by amplifying its entrepreneurship programme to the students through a three-day sensitisation event scheduled for February 23rd through 25th this year.

He noted that due to the current COVID pandemic, the physical event would be held based on NCDC guidelines, and therefore advised students who are unable to attend the event physically due to limited access to the event venue to join the event online via the University of Calabar Facebook page.

“It is our hope that students of UNICAL will take advantage of the opportunities inherent in this relationship between the university and TEF to make meaning out of their entrepreneurial lives,” the Tell Africa chief noted.

In his remarks, Nkem Onwudiwe, head of corporate marketing communications, Tony Elumelu Foundation, explained that the Foundation celebrated 10 years of impact in 2020.

Onwudiwe said, this was the 7th TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. So far, over 9000 African entrepreneurs have been empowered through the programme. Through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, successful applicants will receive a world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities.

“To address the unique challenges arising from the pandemic, lift millions out of poverty and create sustainable employment across the continent, the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme will empower 1,000 young African entrepreneurs, selected from the 2020 cohort. The Foundation will also open applications to an additional 2,400 young entrepreneurs in 2021, in collaboration with global partners.”

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