FABlab Namibia and the winners of the 2017 #pitchnightnam, attended the global impact accelerator at the renowned SLUSH conference in Helsinki, Finland last week.
The event was created to fast track innovation impact across the globe and give Innovation hubs a chance to present themselves, meet like-minded people and organisations and engage with Venture Capitalists.
Namibia was represented for the first time ever at the SLUSH this year, this is testimony to the level of innovation and technological developments that has been pursued by Namibia University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) very own FABlab. Kirstin Wiedow the director and co-founder of FABlab Namibia, as well as David Shatiwa, BDS coordinator from the tangible Innovation arm of FABlab flew the flag for Namibia.
Namibia is being recognised and its star is rising on the global stage as a player contributing to local innovation. Further proof of this were the two local Namibian start-ups that had the opportunity to accompany Wiedow and Shatiwa to Helsinki, as part of their prize in the #pitchnightnam competition. The two start-ups were Kaveto Tjatjara, whose innovation assists in providing decent ablution facilities for all Namibians without the need for water connectivity and the runner-up was Vincent van Wyk with his locally designed low-cost PC. Not only did they get to participate in the SLUSH event, they also had the opportunity through the SAIS funded programme to take part in a fully facilitated business match-making schedule with Venture Capitalists.
Namibia has risen 10 places in the Global Innovation Index over the past year and its through NUST’s FABlab that this rise has been made possible. As a key player, together with stakeholders and partners FABlab is mobilising the local community and driving product innovation in Namibia.
The Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) is a program created in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and global partners. Supporting impact start-ups and showcasing the exciting business opportunities in emerging markets, which are also vital for implementing the Agenda 2030. In addition, the program focuses on strengthening the networks between the impact actors, engaging the Nordic community with the global impact entrepreneurs, and enhancing the mobilization of capital towards impactful business. Namibia was not the only small nation with a large appetite for innovation that was present in Helsinki; Tunisia, Serbia, Kosovo, Nepal, Palestine, Israel, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Jamaica and many more.
Wiedow said, “GIA 2017 brought impact-driven entrepreneurs from emerging markets to Helsinki to accelerate their business, attract additional financing, and build long-lasting networks. This is why it was so great to be able to take our winning innovators along and see and show how they can drive and develop their ideas, meet people with the same dream of entrepreneurship and innovation from around the world.”