Two Nigerian business owners, Precious Adeho and Ngozi Deborah Atalor, have emerged winners in the 2017 Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten 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.
The two Nigerians won the Merit prize along with four others in the same category, while businesses from the United Kingdom and Pakistan took the top and runner-up awards.
The winners were announced during the Global Entrepreneurship Week holding from November 13 to 17 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
“We congratulate the Nigerians on this feat,” said General Manager, External Relations, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited. “Three Nigerians came up with creative ideas on energy efficiency and access to chemical and paint products, and were among 22 entrepreneurs from nine countries who vied for the prestigious prize. We are happy that young Nigerians have deployed the skills and funding assistance in our LiveWIRE training schemes and made a mark for themselves and our country.”
Adeho and Atalor won $5,000 each, the only Africans to clinch the prize.
The overall winner received $15,000, while the three runners-up got $10,0000 each.
Shortlisted businesses for the LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators competition were judged by an international panel of business leaders, chaired by Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President of New Energies at Shell.
Trained by Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria, Adeho got a start-up grant to reposition his company, Emobella Engineering Nigeria Limited, which provides engineering services with a USP of 24-hour availability and high-quality customer service.
The business model integrates a training programme for young people facing employment challenges in the region.
Adeho said: “This is the best thing that has happened to me and my business. Shell LiveWIRE has taken our business to the global stage, and I want to thank Shell for the opportunity to showcase our vision.”
Atalor, a 2016 Shell LiveWIRE grant recipient, offers affordable solar energy solutions on a small scale to empower families and businesses in rural areas to adopt the technology.
Her company, De-rahbs Energy Services, installs, services and repairs solar energy equipment, and provides a low-cost solar energy payment plan and training to future engineers and energy entrepreneurs.
She said of the Merit prize: “I see the award as an encouragement to pursue my dream of taking solar energy to every home in Nigeria.”
Since its introduction in Nigeria in 2003, the LiveWIRE programme has trained 6,550 Niger Delta youths in enterprise development and management, and provided business start-up grants to 3,313.