- It aims to support entrepreneurs and is not part of the digital transformation, says MD
- A total of 100,000 RM was allocated to the 3 best ideas for the start, as well as for the mentoring of jury members
TOTAL Oil, the fourth largest oil and gas company in the world, launches its Startupper of the Year Challenge in Malaysia. After a positive response from the first installment in more than 30 African countries in 2015, the Group returns to the program in almost 60 countries around the world.
In the Asian region, other countries involved are Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan and Fiji. Managing Director of Total Oil Malaysia, Sachin Singh (photo): "The Startupper Challenge is a real commitment to society in which Total would like to change something."
The Startupper of the Year challenge in the 2018-2019 contest aims to support and reward local entrepreneurs under 35 who have a project or business that is less than two years old in any business sector. Candidate projects will be evaluated on the basis of their innovative character, positive impact on society and the community as well as feasibility and development potential.
Speaking of the program's justification, Sachin believes that it is closely related to the role of Total Oil as a responsible company. "Being a responsible company means not only generating profits and creating jobs, but also engaging our society, our goal is to raise the structure of youth in society and help them realize their ideas."
In addition to Sachin, the jury in this program is Norhizam Kadir, vice president of ecosystem development at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC); Fadzarudin Shah Anuar, general director of FashionValet; Leon Foong, CEO of Socar Malaysia; and Dinesh Ratnam, director of the Catcha Group office.
"We strive to create an environment in which ideas that are socially influential and tangible can come to light through implementation and financing," Sachin said. He explained that all types of start-up ideas are welcome to take part in the challenge if there is a social benefit.
Asked if the Startupper Challenge is part of the Total Oil transformation journey, Sachin stressed that the program aims to help the community. However, he said: "Digitally transforming is now the normal structure of any organization. Internally, we have a strong culture of innovation with a bank of ideas and an Innovation Committee."
"We get a lot of ideas about improving productivity, work-life balance and customer retention, but I have to say that every change can only happen if senior management pushes it forward like in Total," he added.
The Startupper challenge is open for registration until November 13. Top 100 participants will be qualified by mid-November, followed by an online voting period for the public. In January 2019, the 15 best participants with the largest number of votes will submit their business applications to the jury. The winners of the first three will be selected by March 2019.
"$ 100,000 has been awarded to winners – RM50,000 for first place, RM30,000 for second place and RM20,000 for third place. Jury members will also act as mentors and provide coaching to winners for one month and more at their own time" – Sachin said.
As for the opportunity to cooperate with Total Oil, he said: "We would like to act on our core energy competence." If the project is close to our business and the owner would like to work with us, it is something we can be open to. "
The winners of the first prize from each country will also have the opportunity to compete with each other at the global level. Six major winners will be selected by the grand jury. In addition, Total Oil will also present an award for the Best Female Entrepreneur to "recognize and encourage the participation of women entrepreneurs".
Participants can register for the Startupper of the 2018-2019 challenge by November 13.