A 27-year-old Lilongwe based entrepreneur Stephen Chiunjira on Tuesday emerged winner of Total Malawi’s first edition of ‘Startupper Challenge’, a contest aimed to support and enhance innovative entrepreneurship in the country.
The contest, which targeted innovative entrepreneurs below the age of 35, also aimed to identify, reward and provide support to three budding entrepreneurs with best development proposals.
Startupper Challenge commenced on November 1 2015 and was open to all Malawians including those in business for less than two years.
There was no formal limitation or restriction in terms of type of business, but had social and economic criteria that considered innovation, expertise, development, prospects, profitability, value addition and job creation, among others.
Chiunjira emerged winner after convincing a 10 member jury with his business proposal titled “Our World International [Waste Management Project] and received a cash prize of K5.5 million.
University of Malawi student and innovator of Padoko charger, Mixon Faluweki came second for his “Padoko Charger” project. While third slot went Benedicto Longwe for his business proposal titled “Ndagha Sustainable Foods”.
Faluweki and Longwe received K3.3 million and K2.2 million, respectively.
Speaking before announcing the winners, Total Malawi Managing Director Seggie Kistasamy said his company is committed to contributing to the country’s economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs with viable business projects.
“The aim of the challenge, which was also launched in other countries where Total operates, is to see young entrepreneurs take an active role in developing the local economy and to become less reliant on imports.
“Africa needs local solutions, but there is lack of financial support, lack opportunities, bad governance and other hardships. So, Total came up with this initiative to support innovative entrepreneurs in realizing their projects,” said Kistasamy.
He said they would like to see young people contributing positively to the development of the country’s economy.
He also took trouble to encourage unsuccessful participants to refine their proposals and engage with other institutions for possible support.
“However, those that have not done well will be allowed to participate in the next edition,” said Kistasamy.
A jury of professionals selected ten best proposals [from 64 applicants] based on how innovative, original and bold the project was, its development potential and its capacity to improve living conditions of the population.
The top 10 Sartupper Challengw finalists had to defended their business proposals from which the best three business projects were picked.
A ten member jury comprised Maynard Nyirenda (Chairperson), Davie Kavinya of Inde Bank, Ndione Chauluka of TEVET, Dye Mawindo of Office of Director of Public Procurement (ODPP), Harlod Jiya of National Bank of Malawi, Felix Maoni of Polytechnic, Dorothy Chapeyama of Reunion Insurance, Julia Mvula of NBS Bank, Jerina Thornicroft of Luckay Haulage and Kistasamy, Total Malawi MD.
While business magnate Jimmy Korea Mpatsa of Mpatsa Holdings was the Honorary Patron.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :