Total to support SMEs in 34 African counties

French oil company Total has unveiled a programme to finance African start-up businesses
The programme launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, will finance and technically support the businesses in 34 countries in Africa.
“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, the Total Ethiopia Managing Director at the launch.
From November 1 to end of January 2016, Ethiopians below 35 years of age, with innovative and original business ideas, can submit their plan to Total’s start uppers challenge online (, 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.
Global initiative
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 and innovations from the rest of the world,” Brand Ambassador and double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie said at the Harmony Hotel launch.
The Stratupper Year Challenge is part of the French company’s global initiative of supporting the socioeconomic development of all the countries where it operates, according to Mr Toure.
He added that Total would launch the programme every two years.
Total currently operates in 150 countries, creating jobs to close to 100,000 employees of who some 10,000 were in Africa, according to the company officials.