By Adewale Sanyaolu
In its bid to support young entrepreneurs in Africa as well as Nigeria, Total Energies has splashed N15 million on the winners of the 2021 edition of its Startupper of the Year Challenge.
The challenge, according to the company, is in its third edition and is aimed at supporting the local economic fabric as well as creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem in which youths will be visibly mentored.
The winners in the three categories were painstakingly selected by a jury made up of experts and successful entrepreneurs from 15 top finalists. Also, they were assessed based on their innovative character, feasibility and development potential in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as defined by the United Nations (UN).
The winners include; Michael Osumune of Smart Inverter Systems, designed to provide solar electricity, who won the Best Business Creation Project’ category, The Best Startup Under 3 years old won by Nonso Opurum of Soso Care and Rebecca Adeosun of Organic Cycle who won the Best Female Entrepreneur category.
In separate interviews with Daily Sun, they thanked the company for giving them the platform to showcase their potential while urging Nigerian youths to tap into initiatives such as this and promised to make Nigeria proud at the grand finale of the competition taking place in France.
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Earlier in his welcome address, the Country Chair, Total Energies Company in Nigeria, Mike Sangster, who was represented by the Managing Director, Total Energies Marketing Nigeria Plc, Dr Samba Seye, said the startupper challenge reaffirms the company’s commitment to supporting the socio-economic development of the countries in which the company operates in Africa.
For her part, the Executive General Manager, Total Energies Country Services, Olubunmi Popoola-Mordi, said the emergence of the winners has shown that there is hope for Nigeria.
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“Looking at this top finalists, I think there is hope for this country. For people who can sit and think of all the wonderful great ideas despite the harshness despite the difficulty, it means that we have reignited people and actualization and the possibilities of their dreams of their visions and ideas that will positively impact Nigeria and Nigerians.
We recorded about over 34,513 applications of which 13,885 were complete. I think what is very important is that we had 26 per cent female entrepreneurs. This is about encouraging women and so 26 per cent female entrepreneurs were part of this process,” she said.