Energy firm Total (Philippines) Corp. (Total) wants to empower young businesspeople who are starting a social enterprise through its “Startupper of the Year by Total” challenge with a cash prize of P750,000 along with help in advertising and mentoring.
The Philippines is among the new countries added to the global challenge which was initially introduced in Africa in 2015. Today, social entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the United States can join the idea-pitching competition that aims to aid them to expand their businesses.
Including the Philippines in the competition is aligned with Total’s objective of harnessing the young entrepreneurs who will lead the economy in the future. According to Laurent Stouffe, managing director of Total in the country, the company wants to “capitalize the 60 percent of the population who are 25 years old.” The challenge is open to individuals who are not over 35 years old that runs or has started a business that has social impact.
“These young people will drive the future of-of the Philippines,” Stouffe said.
Social entrepreneurs can create sustainable value and contribute to the development of local communities through job creation, improved education, substituting imports through supporting local products, and raising the standard of living within the community they decide to operate.
The challenge is focused on the individual and not so much on the business. However, a project that creates significant social impact is important, too, to be shortlisted for the finals. Fifteen entrepreneurs will go through a stringent process of pitching their business or business ideas. He or she must be able to present a business that is innovative in nature or maximizing technology to be able to provide solutions for an existing problem in the country.
The challenge also sees to support all types of organization — from projects that are still in incubation to startups that have been running for less than two years.
“Total recognizes the creativity and passion of the Filipino youth,” Stouffe said. “We are optimistic that the first run of ‘Startupper of the Year by Total’ can spark positive change in the country through the efforts of its participants.”
“This challenge is aligned with Education and Youth Inclusion pillar that we have at Total,” said Maria Lourdes Espina, VP for Marketing and Communications at Total (Philippines) Corp.
More than the cash prize, the challenge’s most significant objective is mentoring the young entrepreneurs to grow their business through proper networking and marketing. Stouffe said this is what many of the participants were hoping to get more than the financial package based on the first challenge.
Total has partnered with the Philippines’ QBO Innovation Hub to provide the coaching segment of the prize. QBO is a public-private initiative for startups with a mission to create a globally competitive startup ecosystem in the Philippines through mentoring.
This year, the challenge will be awarding the Top Female Entrepreneur to be chosen among the 15 finalists.
“We at Total always promotes diversity,” said Espina.
From the initial 34 countries in Africa, the challenge is now present in 60 countries. Details of the challenge are found in the “Startupper of the Year by Total” challenge website. Deadline for submission of application is on Nov. 13.