After nearly six months of working with and interviewing prospective applicants for the Total Startupper campaign, it’s occurred to me that the community has a larger role than most recognise. With over 500 validated applications judged for impact and narrowed down to 13 finalists, it’s become obvious that great ideas are in abundance, but support is not.

This is precisely why the Total Startupper campaign has been such a breath of fresh air.  More and more community, company and political leaders are recognising the critical importance of ensuring brilliant minds have their incredible ideas supported and nourished.

The winner was announced on 5 March, prior to this post going to publication, but you can click here to see who won.

The great social critic Christopher Lasch asked us to consider the impact of society on the identity of an individual when he said: “Every society reproduces its culture, in the individual, in the form of personality.” Essentially, a vibrant and strong community produces stronger people – individuals who have the confidence, vitality and capacity to roll-out incredible ideas. It’s not enough to say we support entrepreneurs – we must rally around them, invest and communicate with them and be a cushion when they fail, so that they fail fast and get back up with their learnings intact.

Sean Rad, co-founder of the popular mating app Tinder, lamented the challenge of sustaining a new idea: “When you are building a startup, it’s difficult. Particularly, a startup that is expanding at the rate of Tinder. You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you’re going to disintegrate.”

READ: Total South Africa continues to inspire entrepreneurs

The fear of disintegrating is very real and even justified when you look at the startling stats of how many smart people launch an idea and crash within the first few years. The question then becomes, how do we ensure that a resilient entrepreneurial mind is complimented by a community geared to support? Through this Startupper journey, I’ve found entrepreneurs want us to simply do more than talk – to offer our presence. Showing up as a volunteer to assist with a business plan or to even avail yourself to be an adviser – these gestures go a long ways in building a society in which entrepreneurship can thrive.

One of the planet’s greatest entrepreneurs, Sam Walton, founder of the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, which employs 2 million people worldwide, said: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” Thank you, Total, for believing in the people with the ideas who will impact society. Congratulations to everyone who believed enough in their ideas to submit their application and a special congrats to the 13 finalists as well as the winner. We’re excited to see your ideas make an impact.  Thank you to everyone who has taken this Startupper journey with us. Click here to read about the winner and share your support for all the finalists.

This post was sponsored and written by Timothy Webster

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