ONGWEDIVA – This year’s winner of the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN)’s Innovation Award will this year win more, the bank announced Tuesday.
The money was doubled from N$500 000 to a N$1 million this year.
The bank will this year again award business minded personalities for their creative and innovative ideas that have a developmental effect on the persona and the country’s development at large.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s awards at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair, DBN’s Head of Marketing Jerome Mutumba said the increase was necessitated to allow winners to successfully implement their projects.
Mutumba said previously some winners struggled to get their projects off the ground despite the winnings.
“This time around the bank has made sufficient provision to ensure that winners can get their projects off the ground,” Mutumba said.
Also speaking at the launch, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi invited participants to present their ideas to the bank in order to take part in the million-dollar competition.
Giving a glimpse into the DBN model, Inkumbi said the bank also strives to alleviate the shortage of land in the country by financing land through public-private partnerships as well as land in un-proclaimed areas.
Apart from land servicing, DBN keenly funds enterprises and infrastructural development across the country.
In Oshana Region where the Innovation Award was launched, the bank has dedicated four percent of the projects funding, with most of the money channeled to construction and land servicing.
On the issue of enterprise development, the Governor of Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa called upon all stakeholders to invest in upgrading and formalising local business because the majority of businesses are small and informal.
“Many of these business can grow - the challenge lies in enabling small business owners to graduate into becoming formal SMEs,” Kashuupulwa.
Further presenting challenges in areas that qualify for funding at DBN, the governor said the region was in dire need of roads to link urban areas with rural areas.
“Each road that is tarred brings a noticeable improvement in economic activity at the villages which are connected. Oshana Region needs more roads to link the urban areas with the rural areas,” said Kashuupulwa.