Ato Bentsi-Enchill ’17 was recently named as one of only 1,000 entrepreneurs selected for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP).
Launched in 2015 by Tony Elumelu, Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, the TEEP is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship and represents a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create one million jobs and add $10 billion in revenue to Africa’s economy.
The program will enable Bentsi-Enchill and his business partner – a childhood friend and recent MIT graduate, Ike Kyei – to develop the next iteration of their company, RevisionPrep.
In 2014, RevisionPrep won The Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Contest, the Colleges’ annual entrepreneurship competition facilitated by the Centennial Center for Leadership. Bentsi-Enchill, of Accra, Ghana, received a $10,000 award in start-up funding, which helped in the development of the online educational service that combines exam preparation with gaming programs for students in Ghana.
For RevisionPrep’s Ghanaian users, however, electric service is intermittent, so the online features of the program aren’t always accessible.
“I talked to my customers, trying to figure out what they need. And I’m not scared to change my business model at this point,” says Bentsi-Enchill, who is creating a call center where students can easily reach tutors over the telephone, “hiring teachers to take shifts in the call center and be ready to answer homework questions.”
It is this new model that he plans to develop during the TEEP, which provides start-ups with up to $10,000 in seed capital investment. Entrepreneurs are guided through a 12-week online boot camp and the eventual Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum in July where participants receive the first half of their investment from Elumelu himself. Throughout the experience, each entrepreneur is paired with a mentor, with whom they will work through December 2016 to refine business plans.
“I love the mentorship aspect of the program, that there are experts who know how to run a business, who help take you through the process of building a business to scale,” says Bentsi-Enchill.
Although it’s a challenge to be a full-time student while running a company in a country with a five-hour time difference, Bentsi-Enchill isn’t shying away, with plans to grow RevisionPrep in Ghana and West Africa, and long-term interests in politics and business.
“I’m really proud of my continent,” he says. “I’m one of the few Africans on the Colleges’ campus and I’m happy I applied to the TEEP and got to raise the profile of Africa for the campus community.”