TotalEnergies splashes N15m on 3 entrepreneurs in startupper challenge

From left, Chinwe Ifechigha (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager - Total Energies Marketing Nigeria); Tonye Osifo (Manager, CSR Education, Total Energies EP Nigeria); Samba Seye (Managing Director - Total Energies Marketing Nigeria PLC), Olubunmi Popoola-Mordi (Executive General Manager - Total Energies Country Services). Oct. 2021.

 TotalEnergies Nigeria on Wednesday announced the winners of the third edition of its Startupper of the Year Challenge designed to support young entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the African continent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Mike Sangster, Country Chair, TotalEnergies Companies in Nigeria, presented the award to the three finalists at a ceremony held in Lagos.

The winners in the three categories were painstakingly selected by a jury made up of experts and successful entrepreneurs from 15 top finalists.

They were assessed based on their innovative character, feasibility and development potential in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, as defined by the United Nations.

The winners were rewarded with N5 million financial support each, presonalised coaching and mentoring, networking opportunities as well as media visibility.

They are: ‘Best Business Creation Project’ category won by Michael Osumune of Smart Inverter Systems, designed to provide solar electricity, wireless internet access and AI-enabled security surveillance for households and businesses with a mobile application.

The ‘Best Startup Under Three Years Old’ was won by Nonso Opurum of Soso Care, a low cost insurtech, which aims to enable millions of uninsured Nigerians access to health insurance using recyclables as premium.

Also, the ‘Best Female Entrepreneur’ was won by Rebecca Adeosun of Organic Cycle, an application developed for users to trade organic wastes, e-training intending black soldier fly farmers and sales of black soldier fly products after production.

The winners from Nigeria would compete with their peers from 32 African countries for the three grand prizes of Grand Winner, Best Business Creation, Grand Winner, Best Startup Under three years old and Grand Winner, Best Female Entrepreneur.

Sangster, represented by Dr Samba Seye, the Managing Director, TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc, congratulated the winners and finalists on their achievements.

He said the Startupper Challenge was designed to support and reward young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 who had created a company in the past two years.

According to him, it reaffirms TotalEnergies’ commitment to supporting the socio-economic development of the countries in which the company operates in Africa.

He said: “This prize is very important to TotalEnergies as it aligns with our culture of diversity and inclusion.

“Sometime last week, I received the 15 top finalists during a courtesy call to my office. During that interactive meeting, I noticed that out of the 15, seven are females.

“We are happy with this development which clearly underlines the fact that our women are not waiting for anyone to empower them, they are demonstrating that they have all it takes to excel, in an environment of equal opportunities.

“Nigeria, like all other countries on the continent, is faced with challenges of poverty, youth unemployment, and the lack of infrastructure critical to economic development.

“It s also faced with the challenges associated with climate change and how to provide food for its teeming population, in a sustainable manner.

“I believe that today in our midst, we have entrepreneurs whose ideas can address some of the economic challenges Nigeria and other countries in Africa face.”

Sangster said while this was the vision of TotalEnergies, the company cannot do it alone and urged other corporate bodies and well-meaning Nigerians should join in supporting young entrepreneurs.

Responding, the winners while thanking TotalEnergies for initiating the programme, promised to make Nigeria proud at the grand finale of the competition taking place in France.


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