CORRECTION: Collin /Uirab winner of Total Startupper

17 Apr 2016 14:50pm
CORRECTION: Refiling to correct story format

WINDHOEK, 14 APR (NAMPA) - A Namibian application (app) designed to connect merchants with consumers using geo-location technology won Collin /Uirab the ‘Total Startupper of the Year’ competition.
The second place went to Peter Tshithigona, founder and chief executive officer of Adme SMS; and third place to John Lush, co-founder and head of administration at Agri-Cycle.
The purpose of the competition, launched last year, was to provide support for innovative projects designed to promote social and economic development in Namibia. It identified and rewarded the best business creation and business development projects out of an initial 131 valid projects submitted online.
Of these, 72 were shortlisted, from which the top 10 were selected.
The competition, open to people 35 years and under, is run by French fuel company Total in 34 African countries.
The idea behind the initiative is to get young people involved in creative business ideas, while at the same time giving them a “startupper” in the form of cash - N.dollars 250 000 for the winner; N.dollars 150 000 for second place and N.dollars 100 000 for the third-place winner.
During the prize-giving ceremony in Windhoek on Tuesday, Total Namibia Managing Director Naftal Kakwambi said the competition was aimed at promoting local youth entrepreneurship as Total sees it as a solution to reducing poverty and unemployment.
Dr Jerry Gule, Startupper Challenge Project Manager from Swaziland, said although many fuel companies over the years withdrew from Africa, Total decided to stay and grow with the continent.
“We are not looking for a return on investment, we are looking to participate with our host countries to make a difference in the communities we operate,” Gule said.
Overall winner /Uirab’s 'Loc8 Mobile' won N.dollars 250 000. He told the media after the prize-giving ceremony they are already working on phase two of their product.
“We want to build an efficient and effective system that’s tailored to the existing information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Namibia,” he said.
Second-placed Adme SMS provides a a platform for anyone or any company to list themselves or products and services, and users of the service will look up the information that they need at the time that they need it. It is an text message-based search engine. The creators refer to it as an 'SMS-based Google'.
Third-placed Agri-Cycle intend to recycle nutrient rich waste by converting it into useful products for various applications through the use of the Black Soldier Fly (BSF). The BSF larvae can be used as a safe and sustainable protein meal for animal feed, high quality biodegradable oil for bio-diesel production and processable chitin for pharmaceutical application.
The competition is likely to become an annual event.