By: ANDUALEM SISAY
French oil company Total has launched a programme to finance African start-ups.
The initiative, started in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week, will fund and technically support the businesses in 34 countries on the continent where the firm operates.
“This programme/ challenge is part of the project we are launching in 34 African countries with the aim of encouraging competitive and potential businesses by African youth that create jobs,” said Mr Lassina Toure, Total Ethiopia’s managing director, at the launch.
From the beginning of this month to the end of January 2016, Ethiopians below 35 years with innovative and original business ideas can submit their plan to Total’s Start Uppers Challenge online portal, according to Mr Toure.
The first three best ideas or ongoing businesses for the past two years, will be awarded 350,000 Ethiopian birr ($17,000) and also get coaching along with the top 10 best.
The second and third runners-up will also be awarded Ethiopian birr 200,000 ($10,000) and 150,000 ($7,000), respectively.
“It is a very good opportunity for Africans who are mostly totally-reliant on innovations from the rest of the world,” Brand Ambassador and double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie said at the Harmony Hotel launch.
The start-upper year challenge is part of the French company’s global initiative of supporting the socioeconomic development of all the countries in which it operates, according to Mr Toure.
He added that Total would run the programme every two years.
Total currently operates in 150 countries, creating jobs for close to 100,000 employees out of which 10,000 are in Africa, according to the company officials.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION