The last 16 finalists of the 2nd edition of Total Petroleum’s ‘Startupper of the Year’ challenge have presented their projects to a jury ahead of announcing a winner on March 1.
The projects of the finalists spanned health, sanitation, deforestation, food and nutrition, software, education, and agribusiness among others.
The Startupper of the Year challenge is an initiative of the Total Petroleum Group to support business creation and development in African countries and rest of the world.
Ten judges drawn from academia, entrepreneurship, the first edition winner, and Mr. Eric Fanchini-Managing Director of Total Petroleum Ghana Limited, questioned finalists after they each made a 10-minute presentation on their products.
Bright Dokosi, Human Resource Manager of Total Petroleum Ghana and Project Coordinator for the initiative, said a total of 1,197 applications were received over a period of five weeks, from which 481 were selected and 100 shortlisted – with the 16 finalists emerging from them.
He explained that even though there were supposed to 15 finalists, the jury decided on 16 as there was a tie among some applicants.
Commenting on the pitching session, a member of the jury – Adomako Bonsu – said the jury was impressed by the quality of projects the finalists presented.
He stated that the initiative by Total Petroleum buttresses the point that entrepreneurship must be made an integral part of the Ghanaian education system, so that graduates do not get fixated about always getting into white-collar jobs.
Project Coordinator Mr. Dokosi said GH¢1.3million was budgeted for this year’s edition, and judging by the success enjoyed so far, that amount will have to be increased.
The jury will announce the names of three winners who will receive financial support of up to GH¢90,000 for the overall winner; GH¢54,000 for second-placed and GH¢36,000 for the second runner-up.
There will also be personalised support and coaching from Total Petroleum Ghana Limited, and a communications campaign to publicise the winning projects. There will also be a Top Female Entrepreneur award for one of the finalists to support her project.