Windhoek-Omuriro Firelighters is the third winner of the Sanlam Innovation Works, which is an entrepreneurial project that commenced in November 2014 in partnership with the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII). Sanlam Innovation Works has opened doors for many business owners of all ages to transform their ideas into real businesses that can plough back to society. This year, the top five business registered with the initiative each received N$50 000 from Sanlam as capital injection into their business. The money was used to assist all five businesses with the setting up of their respective ventures.
Omuriro Firelighters was awarded as the overall winner for 2017 at the award ceremony held at NBII. Sanlam and NBII said the selection was based on a criterion that assessed all five teams’ progress throughout the year. The project, which take place annually, is aimed at equipping Namibian business owners with the necessary skills required to succeed in their chosen field, while encouraging entrepreneurship and business development in the country.
At the award ceremony, Hilaria Graig: Manager of Marketing and Communications at Sanlam, emphasised the importance of Innovation, stating that it is important because it opens doors to many opportunities such as job creation. She went urged the participants to use the knowledge they gained from the experience to further build their businesses and brands, Graig added that as a company, Sanlam is happy to see its investment in everyday Namibians paying off and the enormous ripple effects such as employment creation coming from this initiative.
Also present at the award ceremony was Prof Pio Lumaga , Director of Innovation Design Lab at NBII, who also reiterated the importance of supporting infant businesses and creating opportunities such as this that help them grow, “Challenges such as lack of access to funding, access to information, training and mentorship are some of the well documented challenges faced by SMEs in general and in Namibia in particular”, he commented adding that, it is only through such initiatives that some of these challenges can be addressed. To date 16 start ups have gone through the innovation works many of which have and continue to create employment for many people around the country.