Windhoek-Eight budding entrepreneurs had the opportunity to boost their businesses and get their foot in the door after being offered an opportunity to share their ideas at Addventure Pitch Night. A local adaptation of Dragon’s Den, Addventure creates a platform for start-up innovators to pitch their business to prospective investors and collaborators, and also provides them with access to business support services.
The event, which was launched last year, was hosted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Government in collaboration with the Namibia University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) FABlab and sponsored by Standard Bank Enterprise Banking and the City of Windhoek.
Standard Bank’s head of enterprise banking, Dennis Isaacs, served as one of the judges alongside Red Bull Amaphiko’s Siviwe Mbinda, head of SME development and promotion at the City of Windhoek, Leonora Joodt, and CEO of the One Economy Foundation, Uajorokisa Akwenye.
As the main sponsor, Standard Bank donated N$20,000 to the winning entrepreneur. However, Isaacs went a step further by offering business planning and financial advice services to some of the participants who fared well during the pitches but didn’t win.
“Pitch Night is a great opportunity for the bank, as we realize that we can potentially help these businesses become contributors of economic growth in Namibia. The bank does not just view entrepreneurs through a commercial lens but sees a responsibility in actively supporting the business growth of existing and potential businesses,” Isaacs said of the event.
Speaking at the event, NUST’s rector Tjama Tjivikua said he was excited to see that the event has sustained momentum since its inception and thanked the various sponsors for supporting local innovators.
“Getting to this stage shows that you are all already doing great things. I hope people are inspired by this event and avail their support to this initiative,” he stressed.
The start-ups that pitched their businesses were Gadget Boy 3D Solutions, Motlee HR Systems, Omuriro Firelighters, Medi Wheels Delivery Services, Bark Designs, Fluffy Mallows and Something Artsy.
Twenty-five-year-old Ndahekelekwa Paulus’ Fluffy Mallows walked away with the best pitch. The young entrepreneur who was pitching for the first time, having only started her homemade marshmallow business in December 2017, expressed her gratitude to the organisers of the event, noting that it was not merely about winning.
“Pitch Night offers a lot of benefits such as guidance for your business and exposure for your products even if you don’t win. I really would encourage other young entrepreneurs to participate because they can learn from the experience, judges and other participants,” she said.
Although she didn’t win, Something Artsy’s founder Jamie-Lee Diergaardt said she decided to participate in Pitch Night because for her 2018 is a year to try new things and was happier for it because it was a learning experience with far more to gain than just the financial aspect of the event.