Tony O. Elumelu with TEF entrepreneurs.

Cambridge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy debuts case study on the Tony Elumelu Foundation

16 February 2023

The article at a glance

The University of Cambridge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) is delighted to launch an in-depth, teachable case study on the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).

The University of Cambridge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) is delighted to launch an in-depth, teachable case study on the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF).

Tony O. Elumelu.
Tony O. Elumelu, CFR

TEF was launched in 2010 by Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, former executive of the United Bank of Africa and one of Africa’s leading philanthropic voices. TEF is the leading philanthropic organisation empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, driving poverty eradication, catalysing job creation across all 54 African countries, and increasing women’s economic empowerment. Since inception, the Foundation’s flagship programme has identified and catalysed over 18,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans.

“To me, the premise of the Foundation is about democratising our luck and making it possible for Africans to experience circumstances that help them move up in the world. That is why we created the Tony Elumelu Foundation: to help economically empower young Africans, giving them the opportunity to prove their ideas can possibly change the world,” says Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CFR.

Shonali Banerjee.
Dr Shonali Banerjee

Based on an extensive series of data collection, including interviews with Mr Tony O. Elumelu, and over 20 of the Foundation’s high-level stakeholders, executives, and senior personnel, this case study explores TEF’s philanthropic journey from 2010 to present day. The case particularly focuses on the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, an annual initiative where the Foundation provides training, direct mentorship, and funding to thousands of young, aspiring entrepreneurs in all 54 African countries. Further sections discuss the challenges that the Foundation has faced in tangibly and inclusively scaling up the Programme, given the enormous demand for entrepreneurship support across the continent.

In keeping with the CSP’s commitment to providing rigorous, open-access philanthropy research, the team hopes that this case study will serve as an informative resource for other organisations in the philanthropy sector.

“We are so pleased to launch this case study of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and firmly believe that the experiences, successes, and challenges explored here will be enormously beneficial to other peers working in the philanthropy for development space. The CSP looks forward to sharing the case study widely, and teaching it during our forthcoming executive education and training programmes,” says Dr Shonali Banerjee.

The case study

The case study – entitled Philanthropy for Entrepreneurs: Democratising Luck Across the African Continent – is co-authored by Dr Shonali Banerjee, Senior Research Associate, and Xiaoyu Dai, Research Assistant, at the Cambridge Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, University of Cambridge.