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‘Nigeria needs cheaper, safer, affordable cleaner energy’


• Total’s start upper challenge winners promote LPG use in household

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has been considered as one of the relatively clean and efficient cooking fuel options currently available in the country.

But many people have shied away from its use in Nigeria due to perception on safety.

Besides, the current packaging needs to be improved upon to achieve affordability.

LPG is currently used predominantly by the upper half of the income groups in the country, especially in the urban and suburban households.

These may be the reasons why the winners of the 2016 Total Start Upper challenge developed creative ideas to make LPG available in Nigerian homes and at affordable prices.

Total Nigeria Plc and Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria launched the Challenge “Startupper of the year by Total initiated to identify, reward and provide support to the best business creation and business development projects less than two years of existence in Nigeria.

The winning projects were granted the “Startupper of the year 2016 by Total” label, as well as financial assistance and a coaching from Total Nigeria Plc and Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria.

The first prize winner, Opeyemi Owososo, a graduate of Engineering from the University of Lagos and the Founder/Chief Executive Officer and Production Manager of Fitco Technology company, a company that manufactures table-top gas stoves locally in Nigeria.

He said that the decision to invent a safety kit for LPG was spurred by the 25 years period of his living with his mother who never used LPG for fear of fire outage.

He stated: “ My company manufactures table top gas stoves pre-installed with safety regulators. The regulators prevent gas leakage from stoves’ burners before the leaking gas exceeds it’s safety limit due to carelessness, ignition failure and flame blowout. With this users safety are guaranteed. The company has a patent for this technology. The company is also working in partnership with LPG marketing companies; whereby the partners’ products (i.e stoves, cylinders and accessories) are sold as bundle at 25 per cent below current market price.

The second prize winner, Uzoma Eleke , with a multi-cultural education background and a passion for sustainability and the development of clean energy technologies.

She said that her solution offers communities value for their waste products by collecting and converting them into biogas for use as cooking fuel in surrounding communities, effective and cheap organic fertilizers and electricity.

According to her, through this service we will be providing cheaper access to energy and reducing the environmental problems associated with land filling and the use of chemical fertilisers.

Nwachinemere Emeka, who is the third place winner, is a old goal driven, innovation and technology enthusiast with a passion in transform Africa into the hub that feeds the world by creating, packaging and deploying value across Africa’s business value chains.

He described Kitovu as Africa’s premier technology hub solving problems in the Agricultural Value Chain.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Managing Director of Total, Alexis Vovk, stated that the Challenge, “Startupper of the Year by Total” stems from the Corporate Social Responsibility policy of Total to support the socio-economic development in all countries where the Group operates.

He described it an initiative with a very concrete response towards strengthening the industrial fabric of nations and improving employment locally by supporting the most daring and innovative entrepreneurs in realizing their project.

Vovk disclosed that the Challenge was to support young Nigerian entrepreneurs by not only giving them financial support but also customized coaching, an impactful and rewarding label, and visibility.

“We identified that young entrepreneurs are not only interested in financial support. They are looking for empowerment and visibility. And this has been a great success. For its first edition, 58,000 visited our website in Nigeria, and a total number of 1,934 projects were submitted. The first evaluation by carefully selected professionals, entrepreneurs and members of the academia allowed the top 30 to emerge”, he added.

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