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800 Start-Ups Tried Their Luck With Old Mutual SEED Initiative

By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

Start-ups and potential entrepreneurs from three towns have submitted over 800 applications to the Old Mutual SEED initiatives in the hope for their idea/concept or business to win some seed capital.

These entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs hailed from Oshakati, Keetmanshoop, and Windhoek.

According to the updates from Old Mutual manager for communications and Old Mutual Foundation Mufaro Nesongano, who spoke during the Windhoek award ceremony, he said by 22 July 2022, they have received over 800 applications from the three participating towns.

This is through the Old Mutual Sustainable, Economic & Empowerment Drive (OM SEED) initiative, together with Launch Namibia, the Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab.

The country is battling to overcome the funding gap at the start-up level, and for product development, however, various corporates, NGOs, and angel investors are coming on board to fill the gap through various initiatives.

Nesongano highlighted that less than a month ago, the OM SEED was launched, and thereafter their partner Launch Namibia travelled to the various communities in Windhoek, Keetmanshoop and Oshakati to sensitise them about OM SEED.

The winners will be incubated for a three-month period to assist them in utilising their training and capital in the most effective way to better position their businesses in the market.

He said various ideas were pitched from entrepreneurs in business sectors such as pig farming, poultry, general dealer shops, technological apps, wellness services, beauty and hair products and agricultural produce.

Nesongano explained that the the response to the OM SEED “has highlighted the need for initiatives that are aimed at our grassroots business”.

For the Windhoek edition, entrepreneurs underwent business, financial, entrepreneurship and leadership training.

During the pitches, the importance of such training came out very visibly and showed how critical it is in enabling entrepreneurs to upscale their businesses.

Three Windhoek entrepreneurs were awarded N$85 000 seed capital for their entrepreneurial concepts through the OM SEED.

The first prize of N$50 000 went to Ndapewa Teressius of the Connect Africa App as the overall winner of the Windhoek edition of OM SEED.

The Connect Africa app supports visual and hearing-impaired members of society by enabling them to access essential services independently by turning images into sound.

Through the app, the visual and hearing-impaired individuals will be able to study at institutions of higher learning, participate in conferences and meetings without sign language interpreters, conduct banking services on their phones, and much more.

Teressius said the prize money will help them add more app features and provide training within our 14 regions.

Johannes Nawa of Community Bakery came in second place and won N$25 000.

Nawa indicated that he would use the money to get a better place for the bakery that would enable him to start using electricity instead of wood when he is baking.

In third place is Diana Nakuumbe, who produces Eembe Jam. She received N$10 000. ”

Nakuumbe highlighted that she will use her prize money to buy a pulping machine and also to market her product better.

During the Windhoek award ceremony, the acting Secretariat manager for the Financial Literacy Initiative Iyaloo Ailonga said the the entrepreneurs have shown hard work, dedication and commitment to realise their dreams through their pitches.

“We are excited to see how your business will grow in the future,” she stated.

The next town’s shortlisted candidates to receive training will be Keetmanshoop on 10 and 11 August, with Oshakati being slated to take place on 17 and 18 August 2022. Email: erastus@thevillager.com.na

Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus

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