It no longer news that the Tony Elumelu Foundation has started accepting applications for the 4th cycle of their ground-breaking Pan-African entrepreneurship development initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
In short today is the 26th day and thousands of applications are already in. my aim is to highlight a few things that will help you fast-track your application process.
In this post, I am going to work you through the application process and the key concept to bear in mind while filling out the application form. Which will eventually ensure your application stands out from the thousands of applications that will hit the portal this year.
First and foremost, the application portal is open and accepting submissions until Midnight WAT on March 1, 2018. To apply, complete the online application here
Statistics shows that after 3 cycles of the entrepreneurial development programme that the 3,000 entrepreneurs across Africa that benefited from the programme have already created tens of thousands of jobs in the process – it is however noted that in the Agriculture industry alone, they are responsible for over 15,000 jobs.
Now, the question is – how do I get my application into the 1000 mark? Hear this… what am about to share with you is already highlighted in the resources section of the application portal, but I know a lot of people will not find it or better still will not take it seriously.
Also, I discovered that for this year the portal was completely overhauled and it’s rich with resources including the document that details what each section requires, and the kind of answer required.
You can find the TEEP cheat sheet as a PDF at the resources section of the portal although I have detailed it out below.
Here are some insights that can help you:
Tips for grant applications
- Read the grant guidelines thoroughly before you start your application. Any grant funding body must use a fair and transparent process to assess applications.
- The guidelines set out the process and criteria for assessment. Follow the process and answer the criteria to make your application more competitive.
- Do not be in a hurry to submit the form. Scrutinize it before clicking the submit button.
- Study all the necessary information contains in the application and understudy what they are expecting.
- Show the demand, community need and public benefit of your project.
- Give objective evidence that there is public demand for, or benefit from, your project to increase your chance of success.
- Be clear about the nature of your project.
- If they can’t form a clear picture of what you plan to achieve, it will reduce your chance of success.
- Have a person not involved in the project read your application before it is submitted and make sure they understand the project.
- Be concise and make your application stand out.
- Avoid acronyms.
- Spell check and grammar check your application.
- Your application will be one of many—if you write it well, you will make our assessment easier.
- Ensure your application communicates emotionally
- Study the organization website in and out.
- Demonstrate the outputs, outcomes and impact of your project.
- Impact—the legacy and changes to lives and communities.
- Study from past winners of grants to know what made them successfull
- Think about how you will measure and evaluate the project. Consider whether the methods are rigorous and will stand up to scrutiny. The outcomes and data need to be credible.
- Lastly, all ideas can win a grant but the only factor that will lead to your success or failure will be how you communicate your idea to the investors.
APPLICATION FORM GUIDE
Before you start filling out the application form, it is pertinent that your business plan is ready although it is not needed at this stage but having it will make this process seamless. For help; read this article on how to write a business plan.
SECTION 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION
This section requires your key personal information such as your name, date of birth and language proficiency. Kindly fill in the questions accurately and ensure to use your official government name (Example: on your passport).
SECTION 2: CONTACT DETAILS
This section requires you to fill in your personal contact details such as residential address, email address and phone numbers.
It is important to be as accurate as possible, as addresses will be verified; your email address and phone number will be used as the primary and secondary mode of communication with you.
If this information is inaccurate, it may mean that you will not receive essential information.
One of the eligibility criteria is for applicants to be resident in Africa. Non-African addresses will be considered ineligible.
SECTION 3: EDUCATION
This section seeks for your highest qualification and your area of specialization.
SECTION 4: SOCIAL MEDIA
Your social media accounts will be used for engagement with the Tony Elumelu Foundation when required.
SECTION 5: BUSINESS PROFILE
This section requires you to detail information about your business or idea. While your business may not yet be operational and you may not have registered a name or address, it is important to fill in this information, which selected applicants may change once official paperwork has been completed.
Q17. Example: you may speak of a personal experience, an issue you faced which led to your decision.
Q18. Example: you may speak about an incident/position of leadership you held in a previous job.
Q19. Example: you may speak about an innovation you created, or goal you attained.
Q20. Example: focus on the core aspects of your business idea – what you are making/selling; who it benefits.
Q21. Example: expand on Q20. And give more detail.
Q22. Example: What is new, exciting, innovative, different, uncommon, about your business/idea. How does it solve existing problems in a new way?
Q23. Why do people need the product or service you are providing?
Q24. What is the development stage of your business?
- IDEA – your business is still a concept, and you have not begun operating
- TESTING (RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT) – you have begun to conduct research into best practices, and may have begun minor operations
- MARKET ENTRY – you have successfully entered the market and begun operations on a small scale.
- GROWTH – at this stage, your consumer demand is established and increases.
Q25. Please select the ONE industry (and sub-sector) that most closely captures your idea, Example: Agriculture – Animal husbandry
Please ensure you give enough detail while sticking to the word limit.
SECTION 6: COMPANY STRUCTURE
This section asks about the formal structure of your company, and majority of the questions are for those who have officially registered.
It also asks about your role/position in the company, and how many staff you currently have working for you (full and part-time).
SECTION 7: MARKET POTENTIAL
This section focuses on the market/demand that exists for your product/service.
Q34. How many people have a need/want for what you are selling?
Q35. What will you have to do to earn an income from your business?
Q36. How do you find/target/engage potential customers for your product/service? How do you achieve sales? How do you spread the word about your business?
Q37. Who do you compare your business/idea with? Who owns the market share already? Who will you be/are you competing with directly? Who is already doing what you plan to do?
Q38. Of those you mentioned in Q37. How is your product/service different? Better? Bigger? More innovative? More targeted? More consumer friendly?
Q39. What is your short-term goal for your business? What are you planning to accomplish/achieve within the next 6months-1 year?
Q40. Following from Q39. Once you have achieved the short-term goal, what will your next big achievement be?
SECTION 8: FINANCIALS
This section is to test your financial understanding of your current/target market, and how well your business is doing/will do. It is important to do thorough research (for idea stage) or to be totally honest (for those already in operation), as Financial Knowledge is not only a deciding factor, but a crucial element of the 12-week training.
Q41. How much have you spent in starting/running your business since inception? This includes personal money utilized, loans, grants and other money put into developing the company.
Q42. How much money do you spend to cover operational/fixed costs each month? Example: rent, raw materials, salaries, etc.
Q43. How much money have you made from sales since you began operations?
Q44. How much money will you need to make for
Q45. BER in sales dollars can be calculated by dividing your company’s fixed expenses by the company’s contribution margin ratio
SECTION 9: BUSINESS IMPACT
Q46. Describe the social benefits your company will provide, in addition to the revenue you plan to make.
Q47. List the 3 most difficult aspects/problems in running your business
Q48. What benefits will you get from this programme?
Q49. Select an area where you need more training/development
SECTION 10: ATTESTATIONS
This section asks about how you got to know about the programme, your ability to dedicate time to completing it, any past experience on similar programmes, as well as two references who will be contacted to vouch for you.
I will be glad to be of help to you.
Also, kindly share this post and be of help to someone who might be in dear need of this information. Thank you!