Total fuels entrepreneurial ideas
Total Namibia hosted the first ever winners announcement of the Startupper of the Year by Total Challenge at a Gala Dinner held at NICE Restaurant in Windhoek on Tuesday.
The Total Startupper competition is aimed at young people up to the age of 35 years who have a concept or a business with less than 2 years of operational experience. The competition ran in 34 African countries. The first prize purse of N$250,000 went to Collin Nico /Uirab, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Project Loc8. Loc8 is a Namibian innovative App designed to connect businesses (merchants) with consumers using geo-location technology.
A total of N$500,000 was awarded on the night, as well as customized support and coaching from Total South Africa.
Collin was born in Otjiwarongo in 1985 and spent most of his teenage life in that town. He also attended school in that town.
In 2004, Collin enrolled at the then Polytechnic of Namibia (Now NUST) to study Information Communication Technology (IT). Due to financial constraints, he dropped out of college and had to start work. He worked at Nampost as a mail sorter and later on as a front line operative (teller).
The Runner up was Peter Tshithigona, Founder & Chief Executive Officerof Adme SMS, walking away with N$150, 000.
“I could barely believe my senses. This is a dream come true for us at Creative Software. I’m very grateful to Total for making this possible. My team & I truly believe that this award will help a lot in assisting with the research & development plan that we have crafted out to make Adme SMS a POWER brand in Africa” said Peter.
Third place went to John Lush, Co-founder & Head of Administration of Agri-Cycle, who won N$100, 000.
“My business partners and I are very excited to have won. We’ve always had unwavering belief in our business, but the recognition from Total feels like a pat on the back. A pat that says well done and keep working hard,” says John.
The contest ran in two stages, the pre-selection of applications and pre-selection of applications by the jury. Eligible applications were individually reviewed by a jury of professionals including Baronice Hans, Bank of Windhoek Managing Director of Designate; Tara Shaanika, Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer; Ally Angula, Co-Founder Leap Group of Companies Leap Namibia; Roberta da Costa , Chief Executive Officer of Team Namibia; Filemon Nditya, SME Bank Head of Business Lending and Mandene Morkel, Lecturer of Biological Sciences at University of Namibia.
Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Hon Pieter Van Der Walt, said “By helping the boldest, most innovative entrepreneurs in our country carry out their projects, TOTAL is helping to strengthen our industrial base and improve opportunities for employment creation.”
273 Namibians subscribed on the online platform. Of these 131 submitted valid projects but may not have submitted all the required information. In the end 72 were shorted listed and had to be assessed to reach the Top 10 finalists.