03 November 2015, Lagos – Nigerian youths who have innovative and entrepreneurial ideas without capital to back it up, can now heave a sigh of relief, as Total Nigeria Plc and Total Upstream companies have pledged to make their dreams come true with the launch of the Startupper of the year challenge.
Initiated simultaneously by the Total Group in 34 countries in Africa, the competition aims to identify, reward and provide support to the best business creation and business development projects under two years of existence in Nigeria.
Speaking on the initiative, the Managing Director of Total, Mr. Alexis Vovk, explained that under the scheme, the winner goes home with N6 million, while the second and third placed, will receive N4 million and N2 million respectively.
He said: “The Challenge in Nigeria is to support young Nigerian entrepreneurs below the age of 35 by not only giving them financial support, but also customised coaching, an impactful and rewarding label and visibility.
“We have identified that young entrepreneurs are not only interested in financial support. They are looking for empowerment and visibility.”
The entire process kicked off on the 1st of November, with the opening of the online platform where talents will be able to present their ideas. A jury of professionals will pre-select up to 10 of the best submitted projects in Nigeria based on specific criteria which include innovation, originality, audacity and potential to impact on the socio-economic development of the Nigerian society and its people. After the candidates’ defence which will take place by March 15, 2016, the jury will choose the best three projects and the results will be announced during the awards ceremony.
The jury members comprised a crop of acknowledged experts and analysts drawn from reputable Nigerian and International organisations such as the banking, finance, industries and media.
Explaining further, Vovk said: “The Challenge, Startupper of the year by Total” is part of Total’s global initiative of supporting the socio-economic development of all the countries where it operates worldwide.
“It is a very concrete action launched to locally contribute to the reinforcement of the industrial fabric and employment generation in the African continent by supporting the most daring and innovative entrepreneurs in realising the project. This approach targets the emergence of new initiatives, while respecting the Total Group values.”