With two weeks left to apply for Ernst and Young’s (EY) Accelerating Entrepreneurs programme, 15 per cent of applications received to date are from African entrepreneurs, highlighting the continent’s “growing entrepreneurial spirit”, the company said.
The Accelerating Entrepreneurs programme sees six entrepreneurs selected to participate in EY’s yearly “Entrepreneur of the Year” event, with the entrepreneurs receiving all expenses paid trips to Monte Carlo to participate. At the event, entrepreneurs will receive growth training, as well as forge relationships with potential mentors and coaches.
EY told Disrupt Africa that so far, 15 per cent of applications received have come from African entrepreneurs; with applications arriving from across the continent, but most received from Nigeria and South Africa.
According to CJ Kujenga, strategic growth markets leader for EY Africa, the applications received from Africa thus far point to the growth in entrepreneurship on the continent.
Kujenga says that with Africa’s youth population the largest in the world and on the rise, young people should be encouraged into entrepreneurship, and as a result hold the key to job creation.
“The response we have received demonstrates the growing entrepreneurial spirit in Africa. At EY Africa, it remains our firm view that entrepreneurs are born innovators who learn from successes and failures. They are bold enough to identify opportunities, seek out growth and overcome risk,” Kujenga said.
“For instance, small and micro enterprises create well over 50 per cent of private-sector jobs on the continent. The entrepreneurs running these enterprises clearly are the contributors of a large part of the narrative of the African growth story,” he said.
“We encourage the youth to become entrepreneurs. Africa has the largest youth population in the world – they are gold mine of potential success as job creators.”
Disrupt Africa reported in December EY encouraged African entrepreneurs to apply to the Accelerating Entrepreneurs business incubation programme, saying local entrepreneurs are the “very lifeblood” of Africa’s economy, and hold the potential to solve pressing societal challenges.
The programme is open to startups which have reported US$50 million or less in sales for the past two years. Applications can be made via the EY website, until March 1, 2015.