Thursday 17 June 2021
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Total looks to bolster start-ups

Giant oil retailer Total is continuing its ‘StartUpper of the Year’ campaign that seeks to identify and nurture young entrepreneurial prospects who have viable business propositions.
The competition, which is open for entries till 13 November 2018, calls for under-35 youth to submit their sustainable and innovative ideas to grab prizes valued at  N$ 600 000.
Total Namibia’s Managing Director Naftal Kakwambi urged young entrepreneurs to grab the opportunity to finally realize their dreams and in the long run rub heads with the continents bright minds.
“While we want to cultivate the culture of innovation, we are looking at something that is going to be sustainable in a long term instead of giving handouts. So we are inviting unemployed youth, university drop outs and youth who are just sitting at home with good ideas to come out,” said Kakwambi.
The contest seeks to support entrepreneurship and initiatives with a strong social impact in the communities where the challenge is being held.
“We are looking at people who want to get out of poverty, the community around them and for them to do something for themselves. Sometimes people have great ideas but they do not even have N$10 to start off, so this is a perfect opportunity.
First prize winner of the contest takes a whopping N$300 000, second price N$200 000 and N$100 000 for the third runner up.
Additional perks for the winners include extensive marketing and exposure and professional coaching with the Gordon Institute of Business Science.
Running for the second term, the contest has introduced a category tailored to push women into the male-dominated sector – Top Female Entrepreneur.
“What we picked up from the previous running is that female was not really active.
We want to make sure that we encourage women to claim their rightful position and role as far as entrepreneurship in this country is concerned,” said Kakwambi.
Another additional category is the Startup for Better Energy’ which looks at projects that look into the creation of energy.
Explaining the evaluation criteria, Kakwambi stressed the importance of having projects with the ability to create value and contribute to the development of the local community, making reference to Namibia’s dependence on foreign imports.
We have communities like Namibia who still import things like toothpick. So, if we can help African countries to stop importing, then this means there will be jobs created and we will develop the local community,” he said.
During the first pitching phase, Total will identify a project among the Top 15 finalists where at least one of the founders is a woman to with the newly introduced accolade.
The 15 finalists will also each be invited for coaching for preparations of the pitching of their project to the final panel.
Previous winners of the contest last year are first placed Collin Uirab who developed an app that allows users to locate any business closer to their proximity. The app also includes the daily financial transactions between vendors going through the banks and incurring banking charges.
Second Prize winner was Peter Tshithigona for software development while Toivo Thomas took the price with his project that uses the power of nature to convert nutrient rich waste products into high-protein feeds. According to Total, Thomas to date is doing better that the first two winners.

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