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TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa's and Namibia's Startupper Challenge Winners Gradulate at GIBS

Winners of the South African and Namibian leg of the Startupper Challenge were recently awarded...

Winners of the South African and Namibian leg of the Startupper Challenge were recently awarded a Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Enterprise Development Academy (EDA) Certificate of Completion during a ceremony held at GIBS in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa’s Innovation and Corporate Affairs Manager, Tshilidzi Ramuedzisi, said, “The Startupper Challenge, initiated in 2015, focuses specifically on the African continent, helping communities tackle barriers to entrepreneurship such as lack of capital and lack of mentorship opportunities. We believe that entrepreneurship, especially youth entrepreneurship, will energise African economies, and with this initiative, we pledge to walk with the winners through that journey.

“Being an entrepreneur is really tough. It’s not like any other full time occupation, it requires you to be always on and the entrepreneurs we certified are testament to that. Giving them the support they need makes for a less tough journey,” concluded Ramuedzisi.

The Winners

The Namibian Startupper Challenge winners were: Collin Uirab, Peter Tshithigona and Toivo Thomas. The South African Startupper Challenge winners were: Bathabile Mpofu and Themba Sehawu.

Speaking on behalf of GIBS at the certification ceremony, GIBS EDA Founding Director, Yogavelli Nambiar, spoke about the intersection between innovation and entrepreneurship, “This programme is about youth that look at things differently and are willing to push the boundary to solve everyday problems. It’s about innovation, and the mind-set required to drive that innovation. It’s about examining an existing problem and finding new ways to tackle it.”

Uirab and his business partner’s winning idea is Loc8, a mobile application that uses the phone’s GPS to pinpoint the user’s geo-location based on the areas of interest selected by the user upon signup process. The application then shares offers, services and products associated with those interests and includes an e-commerce facility using NFC technology.

Mpofu and her business partner’s winning idea is ChemStart, a mini Chemistry kit with weekly experiments that high school learners can do on their own, at school or at home, without teacher supervision. The idea answers a need for increased support in STEM education in South African public schools.

Sehawu’s winning idea is Senovate, a farming implement designed to harvest fruit and prune fruit trees without using ladders. The idea guarantees higher levels of safety and increases efficiency in both small and large scale farms.

Tshithigona’s winning idea is a directory service that works using SMS technology. The service lists formal and information service providers, users query it for details, and the details are sent to the users using SMS messages.

Thomas and his business partner’s winner idea is an agriculture company that produces alternative animal feed, biodiesel and fertilizer through the cultivation and processing of insect biomass. They also farm insect larvae to create various by-products that serve the local agrarian economy.

The TotalEnergies company launched the Startupper of the Year initiative in October 2015 across 34 African countries simultaneously. The winning projects received a share of N$800,000 prize money, were enrolled in business coaching and are the current title holders of the Startupper of the Year 2016 by TotalEnegies title.

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