Total Kenya PLC the leading supplier of Petroleum and Gas products in the East African region in the oil and gas sector has launched the second edition of Startupper of the Year Challenge that seeks to promote creative ideas and entrepreneurship among young citizens.
The Challenge “Startupper of the year by Total” was part of Total’s global initiative of supporting the socioeconomic development of all the countries where it operates worldwide. It was a very concrete action launched to locally contribute to the reinforcement of the industrial fabric and to employment on the African continent
The 2018/19 Total Startupper Challenge is building on a successful first edition held in 2015/16 that attracted over 800 applicants from 34 countries, 40 of them from Kenya.
This year, the contest will be stretching to 55 countries with exciting and rewarding opportunities for successful applicants.
The challenge will be open to projects or Start-ups from any field or activity that are less than two years old and proposed by young entrepreneurs aged less than 35 years.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi, Total Kenya corporate programs manager David Ayilo said the firm aims to help ease the pain of high unemployment in the country by empowering young entrepreneurs who in turn become job creators through innovative ideas.
Submission of applications will be online via a dedicated platform and the eventual selected winners will receive exposure, financial support and specific coaching.
The projects will be assessed based on their social and community impact, feasibility and development potential.
In Kenya, three winners will be selected with the outstanding applicant receiving Sh2.5 million. The first and second runners-ups will walk away with Sh1.5 million and Sh1 million respectively.
To support women entrepreneurs, the second edition will designate a top female entrepreneur in each country. This special award is Total’s way of encouraging women to take part in the challenge.
In the first edition, 40 finalists were shortlisted in Kenya with Samuel Rigu scooping the top prize of Sh2.5 million for his project Safi Organics produces, a soil conditioner derived from farm waste.
The company has developed a patent pending environmentally friendly reactors together with Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) and unique recipes enabling the low-cost and decentralized conversion of farm waste into carbon negative soil conditioner in just under 2 hours
Susan Okioma came second, walking away with Sh1.5 million for her SIL Space Solutions which provides cutting edge solutions that optimize space in constrained environments.
Kevin Mureithi from Ecoblocs, a firm that use waste based materials to develops durable and affordable roofing tiles took the third position which granted a cash reward of Sh1 million.