By Oke Peter
Ngozi Deborah Atalor, a Shell Nigeria LiveWIRE entrepreneur has emerged winner of the pitching competition for young Nigerian entrepreneurs in alternative energy business as part of the #makethefuture Accelerator event held in Port Harcourt, taking home N1million prize money to boost her business.
This is coming barely a month after she won a $5,000 merit category prize in the Shell LiveWIRE top 10 innovators competition, a global contest open to beneficiaries of Shell LiveWIRE, and aimed at rewarding shining cases of innovation in businesses supported by the programme.
Judges at the event assessed Atalor’s presentation on how to light up all homes in Nigeria as the most convincing and realizable, to place the young Managing Director of De-Rahbs Energy Services, a firm that specialises in solar panel construction, installation and maintenance ahead of the first and second runners-up, Prince Ledee Basi and Ibiere Gilbert David respectively. The two runners up received N500,000 each for their efforts.
All three of them are startups from the LiveWIRE entrepreneurial programme for Niger Delta youths. They all set up businesses that deliver energy solutions to customers in the Niger Delta and beyond. While Basi’s Basiled Energy Ventures offers renewable energy, safety wears, and sensitisation services on the use of solar products, David’s Ibdav Resources firm provides bio-fuel clean cook stoves.
In addition to the cash prizes, the 3 entrepreneurs would also receive coaching support from Co-creation Hub, a leading innovation hub in Nigeria.
“There is energy transition as we speak and things are changing towards cleaner energy. Nigeria should be part of those solutions that would sustain the globe going forward. What we have done with the #makethefuture campaign Accelerator event here in Port Harcourt is to provide the platform for young Nigerian energy entrepreneurs to share their ideas on how they can be part of providing power solutions,” said Igo Weli, the General Manager External Relations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
He said that the event was remarkable as the first initiative of its kind in energy solution initiative in Nigeria, with the fusion of strengths of telling Shell’s energy story and the flagship entrepreneurial programme, LiveWIRE, which has produced 6,580 Niger Delta entrepreneurs since 2003.
Chief Executive Officer All-on Partnership for Energy Access, a firm supporting and investing in energy solutions providers, Dr. Wiebe Boer, and other alternative energy experts led discussion sessions with the young entrepreneurs.