On Wednesday 06 May 2015 Team Namibia and the University of Science and Technology’s FABlab premiered the first for Namibia – ADDVENTURE business matchmaking events, which is a local adaptation of the internationally acclaimed “Dragon’s Den” concept.

The debut event was hosted under the theme “Explore Namibian Business”. The platform has been created in response to a business need expressed by local entrepreneurs, who require and request for facilitated access to business support facilities and consumer markets. The event which took place in Windhoek was well attended by key industry stakeholders and Team Namibia members, representing Government, industry, retail and private sector buyers.

In his welcoming remarks, Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, Rector of the University of Science and Technology applauded the partnership between the two organisations, stating that “Multi-helix partnerships are paramount if we are to accelerate the innovation landscape. Together we must cooperate and collaborate in platforms, such as this one today, thereby increasing our combined impact”.

Sven Thieme, President of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry remarked in his keynote address that “the ultimate objective of this initiative is to facilitate growth and develop industry, through the vehicle that is our Small-to-Medium Enterprises. It is our desire at the NCCI and Team Namibia, to witness the eventual graduation of business, from Small, to Medium to Large enterprises”.

PARTICIPANTS

A total of eight SPARKS (start-up innovators) and four CONNECTS (growth oriented SME’s) participated in this first event. Each participant delivered a 5 minute pitch explaining their business idea for growth, which was followed by a 10 minute question and answer session. The pitches were directed to local hard-hitting representatives ranging from venture capitalists to Governmental support agents otherwise known as ADDVENTURER’S.

The selected innovators and SME businesses have been selected according to priority sectors for economic development, as outlined by the National Development Plan (NDP4). Participants represented the following sectors and industries: agro-processing, agriculture, cosmetic and garment manufacturing, jewellery, interior décor, green industry/waste management and community development.

Four (4) CONNECTS

Growth oriented Team Namibia members who demonstrate greatest potential to develop the markets that they operate within and graduate from Small to Medium to Large enterprises.

Eight (8) SPARKS

The start-up participants are entrepreneurs who have completed the Intensive Product Development (IPD) Programme at FABlab in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. Through the IPD Programme these innovators have completed their product prototype alongside a business, marketing, financial and manufacturing plan.

Seven (7) ADDVENTURERS:

PITCH OUTCOMES - CONNECT

Black Gold Compost - secured a preliminary retail shelving contract with AGRA and 1 million Namibian Dollars committed by Business Partners which is supplement with a three-hundred-thousand (N$300,000) technical facility. While the Namibia Trade Forum committed Export-Readiness Training via its ACCESS! Programme. The Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development have offered technical onsite assessment. NCRST rendered control planning support.

Dinapama Manufacturing - secured funding to purchase machinery to the value of 4.2 million Namibian dollars from Business Partners and further financial support to resource certified technical training valued at 1.2 million Namibian dollars also from Business Partners. The MITSD pledged technical expertise to develop staff.

Desert Secrets - Business Partners pledged an offer to finance the purchase of premises at a rate of 100% and to assist the financing for ISO Standard certification. The Namibia Trade Forum committed Export-Readiness Training via its ACCESS! Programme and international market exhibition platforms (Germany).

Kadhikwa Poultry - secured technical advice from AGRA.

PITCH OUTCOMES – SPARK

Bia Investment for MyNature - Stimulus Investments pledged provisional support to Bia Investments, which will be further pursued, on inspection of BIA’s business plan. Agra also pledged support to BIA Investments, again provisionally basing it on the business plan.

Nuevo Investments for Lulu-O - Agra offered to facilitate a meeting between the Omba Arts Trust and Nuevo Investments to discuss the possibility of Nuevo’s Lulu-O brand falling under the Omba product line-up. EIF requested Nuevo to apply to him for an EIF grant, giving Nuevo a good chance to help finance the venture.

Eden Manufacturers - The SPARK received constructive feedback towards starting her innovative business and will meet with the MITSD for further support and assistance. Eden can apply for support from the Equipment Aid Scheme to try and acquire the necessary equipment to begin manufacturing her feminine pharmaceutical product.

Y-NEBB Investment Solutions for MemeTate

Stimulus committed mentoring to Y-NEBB to address the concerns relayed, including the safety, usability and costing aspects. MITSD invited Y-NEBB to apply at the Equipment Aid Scheme to try and acquire the necessary equipment for manufacturing of the product. Agra conveyed interest in potentially commissioning some stalls.

Heatherdale Trading Enterprises - EIF will provide access to a previously conducted feasibility study that they funded for a similar project. MITSD offered to help promote the project and help find investors for the project. Stimulus expressed interest in the second round of investment, once the project has progressed further.

Oshuulo Trading for Oma - Stimulus offered to provisionally support a trial phase whereby the market could be thoroughly tested, contingent on FABlab Namibia’s continued support and facilitation of such a trial. MISTD invited Oshuulo to apply to the Equipment Aid Scheme to try and procure the equipment required, contingent on the equipment be specifically for the processing and value addition of the raw material. EIF invited Oshuulo to apply for a grant, which includes knowledge transfer, surrounding the cultivation of crops adapted for the climate in Namibia.

DMI for African Goddess - Agra invited DMI for further discussion of possible support and market access, contingent on the business plan. Stimulus expressed interest in supporting the project, once the business is ready to expand. MISTD offered promotion of the product at local and international events. MISTD invited DMI to apply at the Equipment Aid Scheme to try and acquire the necessary equipment for manufacturing of the product.

M&O Décor Enterprise - Stimulus offered a personal deal to M&O for them to design a custom product for his residence, based provisionally on the proposed design and cost. MISTD invited M&O to apply to him for the Equipment Aid Scheme to procure the equipment required. EIF invited M&O to apply to him for a grant, based on the fact that the business is based on the use of recycled materials and promoting recycling locally.

ADDVENTURE will be hosted on a quarterly basis, with two (2) more events scheduled for 2015.

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As a member-based, non-profit movement, Team Namibia’s vision is to “Inspire consumers to make Namibian products and services part of their everyday life.” We believe change comes from taking action and that our strength lies in what we achieve together as a team, hence our underlying principle of UUKUMWE (collaboration).

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