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TotalEnergies Launches 100 Entrepreneurs For 2024 Startuppers Challenge

By Patience Chat Moses 

TotalEnergies Nigeria has launched the 2024 Startuppers Challenge, which aims to reward 100 entrepreneurs across 32 African countries.

The Managing Director of TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc, Dr Samba Seye, announced this at the virtual launch of the fourth edition of the challenge.

According to him, the 2024 edition is in commemoration of the company’s 100th anniversary celebrations and open to young entrepreneurs aged 18-35 with a business creation project or startup under three years old.

He said that the challenge, which is in three prize categories: Innov’Up, Cycle’Up, and Power’, has a monetary award of N8 million, personalized support and a communication campaign to enhance the project’s visibility.

The Managing Director explained that a local jury comprised of experts, business leaders, startup ecosystem participants, local sustainability stakeholders and representatives from TotalEnergies Nigeria will select three winners.

Seye said that each winner of the challenge would become a ‘Startupper of the Year by TotalEnergies’.

“The new edition kicking off today reaffirms TotalEnergies’ commitment to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and supporting the socio-economic development of African countries in which the company is present.

“The challenge strengthens the social fabric in local communities by helping the continent’s most innovative entrepreneurs carry out their projects,”he said.

In her presentation, General Manager(GM) Country Service, TotalEnergies, Mrs Adesua Adewole, said Africa was special to TotalEnergies, hence the focus.

Adewole stated that registration for the challenge would open on May 13 and close on June 18.

Adewole added that 100 startups would be selected at first while 15 finalists would emerge.

The GM said: “In December, we will have 100 businesses to celebrate in Africa.

“In past edition, we had only six winners who were invited to Paris. But this year, we will have 100 winners who will be going to selected location where they will be celebrated.

“Africa is special to us. When you look at Africa, our youths make up 60 per cent, they are the ones who will develop the continent,” she said.

According to her, in all, 365 winners selected from 40,000 applications received have been rewarded and supported worldwide since 2015.

For the 2024/2025 edition of the challenge, Adewole said the local jury would select three winners that would emerge as follows : Innov’Up winner, for the best entrepreneur, Cycle’Up winner, for the best project relating to the circular economy

Also, Power’Up winner, for the best project relating to sustainable, affordable energy, while four additional projects in the Power’Up category will be selected by an international jury.

Commenting, the Country Communications Manager, TotalEnergies in Nigeria, Dr Charles Ebereonwu, said the energy company was targeting startups that are less than three years old for the challenge.

Ebereonwu stated that the firm also focus on startups pioneering a business idea with a positive impact on their communities and/or the planet.

He explained that apart from the startupper challenge and commemoration of the firm’s 100 years, TotalEnergies has introduced new dimensions.

Ebereonwu said all the project entries will be assessed against four criteria.

These, he noted, include: relevance to sustainable development challenges, innovation

feasibility and development potential and respect for gender equality and inclusion of women in the project

Also, a past winner of the challenge, Mr Nonso Opurum of SOSO CARE, a low-cost insuretech that aims to use recyclable garbage as a financial resource, highlighted how winning the challenge impacted his business.

Opurum confirmed that the programme had been transformative to the businesses of all the past beneficiaries.

“It provided not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical know how. It is a great opportunity to learn, unwind and get capital for business,” he said.

TotalEnergies is a global multi-energy company that produces and markets energies: oil and biofuels, natural gas and green gases, renewables and electricity.