Five local start-ups and established small and medium enterprises seeking to grow their businesses participated in the third ADDVENTURE Business Matchmaking event earlier this week at the National Theatre of Namibia.
Speaking at the occasion the director of FABLAB Namibia, Kirstin Wiedow, said the event brought together talented individuals representing institutions in the financial, private equity, business coaching and marketing space, to assist local businesses to grow their business.
Marita van Rooyen from Suncycles presented Namibia’s first solar-powered bicycle, an environmentally friendly product that could address the transport congestion currently experienced in Namibia.
Matilde Ishitile, business owner of White Feathers, presented her plan on making garments for different audience groups, motivated by her desire to address unemployment among women in the country.
Bill Strauss’s creation of the Desert Cooker, a project he began working on 10 years ago, promises to deliver multiple outdoor cooking experiences for the local and international markets, while young entrepreneur Regto Nademufayo David presented his travel insurance concept, Go Safe, targeting the lower to middle income markets. The final presentation was delivered by Jason Burgess, who requested financial assistance to expand the oyster nursery in Lüderitz. Co-sponsor of the event, First National Bank Namibia, represented by Oliver Horsthemke highlighted the importance FNB Namibia places on innovation, not only as one of the values driving their business but as a key element of the company’s recently launched strategy.
He emphasised the importance of collaboration, stating that by creating partnerships with FABLAB Namibia and Team Namibia, a more positive impact, especially through innovation, could be made to grow the economy and ultimately the entrepreneurial space. “Creating meaning partnerships can take small businesses to the next level and that’s where FNB Namibia sees itself in helping to create a network of partners to take Namibia to the next level,” Horsthemke added.
Pledges were made to participants on assisting them to gain market entry for their products, strategies on launching their products through well-crafted marketing initiatives, access to networking opportunities and other potential investors, financial assistance through loans at affordable repayment rates, mentorship on market penetration and developing innovative solutions to manage customer expectations.
Panelists acknowledged the high entry costs that are associated with start-ups and pledged to provide simulation-based training to assist entrepreneurs to understand the financial implication of every financial decision, assisting them to make prudent financial and investment management decisions.
Panellists also generously shared their thoughts on the importance of SMEs to create broader market appeal for their products before investing a substantial amount into their products.
Panellists consisted of Leon Crous (Weatherman & Co), Francois Brand (Financial Literacy Initiative), Aune Ipinge (VPB Namibia Growth Fund), Oliver Horsthemke (FNB Namibia), Jerome Kisting (Baobab Capital), Yvette Hausiku (Environmental Investment Fund) and Josephat Mwatotele (Stimulus Investments).