NamAloe Vera, a local natural manufacturer of aloe vera products, received a sponsorship grant of N$40 000 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade in December last year.
The funds were given under the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF) programme, through the supervision of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia.
The company says it will invest its funds to re-brand and attract international investors.
Founder of NamAloe Vera Risto Ashikoto, with the aim to produce natural remedies with no chemicals, explained the funds came about when a call was made in local newspapers to many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for them to apply for funding and enhance their products.
With the funds, Ashikoto says the company managed to buy two plots – one in the northern part of the country and one at the Groot Aub near Windhoek – to start growing their aloe products.
“With the re-branding process already in progress, we are just busy working with local suppliers of packaging and labeling to enhance our brand identity by upgrading the packaging and labelling of our products,” said Ashikoto.
On the labelling, Ashikoto said they will use labels that are better suited for oils and cosmetic products, specifically looking at packaging that suits liquid products such as oils, shampoos and juices.
“The branding exercise is just a complementary activity, aimed at enhancing our new packaging and a new label.”
Ashikoto added that apart from the funds they received, they were also offered extra financials in the form of business loans, available from Standard Bank Namibia, as a part of the funding scheme. After the re-branding, Ashikoto announced the first step the company will look at is to enter the SADC market by partnering with other businesses in local markets all over the region.
“We aim to penetrate markets in countries like Angola, DRC, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique at first, with South Africa being our last market of entry because the market is a bit concentrated there.”
Ashikoto pointed out that in 2021, they will first focus more on strengthening their products locally before going international. They will be re-establishing their brand all over the country by hosting their product re-launch as well as introducing new products.
“We have already partnered with well-known massage therapist Yovitha Hangula and her mobile massage business Charvitha Mobile Spa to have our healing Aloe Vera oil part of her massage sessions.”
His company will also increase its employees from two to 100 or 200, and he is aiming for more than 500 sales agents and brand ambassadors worldwide.