TotalEnergies’ 4th Edition Of The Startupper Challenge: Cameroonians Encouraged To Participate

Jun 10, 2024

Journalists and participants during the TotalEnergies 2024 Startupper Challenge launching

By Francis Tim Mbom

The 4th edition of TotalEnergies Startuper Challenge is currently live across the 32 countries in Africa where the global energy production and supply company has its operations.
This was made known during a meeting with the press and other stakeholders on Thursday, May 30th in Douala.
The TotalEnergies Startupper Challenge is the company’s unique way of promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in the 32 African countries where the energy giant company has been operating for several decades.

The Managing Director of TotalEnergies Marketing & Communication Cameroon, Patrocle Petridis, talking to the press about this year's Startupper Challenge
The Managing Director of TotalEnergies Marketing & Communication Cameroon, Patrocle Petridis, talking to the press about this year’s Startupper Challenge

During this meeting, the Managing Director of TotalEnergies Marketing Cameroun, Patrocle Petridis disclosed that this 4th edition is special because it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the company. Thus, the Company has decided to reward a total of 100 entrepreneurs across the 32 African countries.
“The objective of this Startupper Challenge is to discover and support young entrepreneurs of the future. TotalEnergies has been in Cameroon for more than 70 years now and we want to create an impact.”
Patrocle Petridis added that they are not in Cameroon solely to produce and sell energy products. It is also their wish to have an impact on the population.
“We want to help the young Cameroonian entrepreneurs to get to the next level of their business. We are already doing that by promoting some Cameroonian products across the 180 TotalEnergies stations in the country.”

Young Entrepreneurs Between 18 to 35 Years

This 4th edition is limited to entrepreneurs aged between 18 to 35; that is, those born between May 1, 1988, and April 30th, 2006.

The Managing Director, during the launch, was assisted by TotalEnergies’ Head of Department of Marketing & Communications, Siliki Nsangue Akwa, and other personalities.

They, in their presentations, indicated that interested entrepreneurs must be residents in the country they apply from provided they are originally from any of the countries where the challenge takes place. They must own a business that is duly registered as of April 30th, 2021. This means that an entrepreneur with a business registered before would not be selected.

From L-R, Patrocle Petridis, Siliki Nsangue and Roland Kwemain during the Douala May 30th launch of the 2024 Edition of the Total Energies Startupper Challenge
From L-R, Patrocle Petridis, Siliki Nsangue, and Roland Kwemain during the Douala May 30th launch of the 2024 Edition of the Total Energies Startupper Challenge

Projects Expected
As to the kind of projects that they are looking for, the Managing Director and his team explained that “for this edition, we are specifically looking at young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, and whose businesses and projects are making an impact in the communities and the planet.”
Thus, the projects or startup shall have to answer to one or some of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs such as affordable and clean energy, innovation and infrastructure, gender equality, etc.
“The four criteria to evaluate the projects shall be to see if it matches with the 17 UN SDGs, the second criteria shall be to see if it’s feasible in the short term, the third shall be to ensure that the startup response equally to both genders and finally, it has to be innovative,” the Managing Director noted.

Deadline Drawing Near!
It’s worth noting that interested entrepreneurs who wish to take part in this 2024 Edition of the TotalEnergies Startupper Challenge need to hurry up as the application window which opened on April 30th shall close on June 18, 2024.

Journalists and other participants listening during the TotalEnergies 2024 Startupper Challenge launching in Douala
Journalists and other participants listening during the TotalEnergies 2024 Startupper Challenge launching in Douala

How To Submit
Interested entrepreneurs are expected to visit the TotalEnergies website where they can submit their applications. Here they shall be expected to fill out forms relative to their company and to their projects or ideas.

How Many Laureates are from Cameroon?
Four winners will potentially emerge from Cameroon; that is if one of three winners from Cameroon emerges as one of the winners of the special Pan African Prize (four winners are earmarked for this special prize).

Jury of Experts
Candidates shall be selected by a jury of experts from each of the 32 countries to make a total of 96. Four more winners of the Pan African Prize category shall round off the total number of winners to 100.
TotalEnergies has put in place a jury in each of the 32 participating countries which is made up of time-tested experts in the field of entrepreneurship.

Roland Kwemain As Jury Member

Cameroon’s one-time President of JCI International, Roland Kwemain, has been chosen by TotalEnergies as one of the coaches for the Startupper Challenge contest in Cameroon.
During the event, he explained that they would be looking just for the best.
He, however, advised that interested candidates should try to ensure that the project they are presenting is innovative and solves a problem; especially concerning the 17 UN SDGs.
“Entrepreneurs are solution providers. What is the problem your project is trying to solve? What do you want to address?” Kwemain said these were some of the points that should guide interested candidates.
He added: “They should make sure that their figures are good because we are talking about business. There is a financial aspect to this.”
He went on to advise that potential young Cameroonian entrepreneurs need to have the ability to be able to market their projects. This, he said, was important because 15 shortlisted candidates will, in October, be invited to pitch or present their projects before the jury.

Selection Process!
From the lot that shall be received across the ten regions of Cameroon after the deadline of June 18, the jury shall proceed to retain the best 100 projects.
From these 100, the jury shall proceed further to scan through and select the best fifteen.

The Pitching Process
By October, a selection of 15 Startuppers shall be invited by the jury for a two-day coaching camp. After this coaching, they shall be expected to pitch (orally present) their project to the jury.

Results In November
After the pitching process in October, the jury shall go through a final evaluation step to come out with the best three projects whose results shall be declared in November, this year.

December Winners’ Party!
TotalEnergies plans to award the 100 winners from the 32 participating countries during a winners’ gathering that shall take place in South Africa in December.

2022 winner, Koum, Encourages Potential Cameroonian Startuppers
The meeting was graced by the presence of one of the 2022 winners from Cameroon, Aloys Koum.
His presence during the launch was an inspiration to potential 2024 competitors from Cameroon.
He presented to the audience, his project which made him one of the 2022 winners.
It’s worth noting that the TotalEnergies Startupper Challenge was launched in 2015. The second edition came up in 2019 while the third edition took place in 2022.