Total SA Startupper Challenge winners graduate | Fin24
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Total SA Startupper Challenge winners graduate

May 24 2017 19:56

Johannesburg - Winners of the South African leg of the Total Startupper Challenge were each officially awarded a Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Enterprise Development Academy (EDA) Certificate of Completion during a ceremony held at GIBS in Illovo, Johannesburg last week.
Delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, Total 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,” said Ramuedzisi.
“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.”
The South African Startupper Challenge winners, Bathabile Mpofu from Kwazulu Natal and Themba Sehawu from Mpumalanga were among winners of the Namibian leg of the programme, Collin Uirab, Peter Tshithigona and Toivo Thomas.

Innovation and entrepreneurship
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,” said Nambiar.
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.
The Total Group launched the Startupper of the Year initiative in October 2015 across 34 African countries simultaneously. The winning projects received a share of the R1 500 000 prize money, were enrolled in business coaching and are the current title holders of the Startupper of the Year 2016 by Total title.

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