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Driving entrepreneurial development through Total ‘startupper’ challenge

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EntrepreneurNIGERIA is naturally endowed with entrepreneurship opportunities; however the realization of the full potential of these opportunities has been dampened by the adoption of inappropriate industrialization policies at different times.

Several policy interventions that were aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship development have failed to achieve the desired goals as it led to the most indigenous entrepreneurs becoming distribution agents of imported products as opposed to building in-country entrepreneurial capacity for manufacturing and skilled services.

Recognising the importance of entrepreneurship to economic development, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, recently unveiled a social and societal challenge aimed at encouraging and supporting young entrepreneurs tagged “startupper of the year by Total”.

The contest, initiated simultaneously by Total Group in Nigeria and in 33 African countries, is targeted at youths by not only giving them financial support but also customized coaching, an impactful and rewarding label and visibility.

The challenge is a local contest that aims to identify, reward and provide support for the best business creation and business development projects in Africa. Its purpose is to provide support for projects designed to promote social and economic development of 34 countries on the African continent including Nigeria.
The competition, a tangible contribution to Nigeria’s growth momentum, is open to all projects regardless of the type of business or activity. There is no formal limitation or restriction in terms of business sector but economic and social criteria such as innovation, expertise, development prospects, profitability, age of entrepreneur, sustainable added value, job creation, local transformation and substitution to imports.

“The Challenge “Startupper of the year by Total” is part of Total’s global initiative of supporting the socioeconomic 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 to employment on the African continent, by supporting the most daring and innovative entrepreneurs in realizing their project. This approach targets the emergence of new initiatives, while respecting the Total Group values”, said Alexis Vovk, Managing Director of Total Nigeria Plc, during the media briefing to unveil the project.

The contest is aligned with emphasis on helping to build economic capacity, thus, participants must submit their business creation or development project in Nigeria. Embedded in this is the objective to promote local content and the entrepreneurial drive of young business people who are citizens of Nigeria to encourage them to take part in developing their communities. Though, Nigerians in Diaspora can participate, however, they must submit only their projects existing in Nigeria or to be developed in Nigeria.

Each contestant is allowed to submit only one project. The project shall satisfy either of the two criteria. First, the project pertains to a new business start-up that must be created in Nigeria and implemented within a maximum period of six months following the selection of the winners; this period can be extended at the discretion of Total Group. Second, the project pertains to a business that is less than two years old and is currently being developed in Nigeria.

“At the end of the process, beyond the successful entries, this competition must have engineered a lot of businesses and brought to life a lot of projects that would have remained as a mere thought by these young people”, said Chizor Malize, Chief Executive of Brandzone and communications consultants for the project.

“The jury members comprise a crop of acknowledged experts and analysts drawn from reputable Nigerian and international organisations.


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