In its quest to promote entrepreneurship, StartUp Namibia recently hosted its first pitch event, pitch-on-point (PoP), which is a platform that lets starting businesses access the StartUp Namibia Slingshot Fund. The Slingshot Fund is a milestone-based fund, meaning successful startups are required to fulfil specified targets over the next six months in order to gain access to the fund.
Access to the fund consists of growth funding and business guidance, which act as catalysts for business expansion and further growth after completion of StartUp Namibia’s incubation programmes. Spokesperson of StartUp Namibia, Ananias Iipinge, explained that winners of the PoP would each be awarded up to 5 000 euros, or just over N$90 000. “This was the event that decided who would be the chosen businesses, based on the merits and potential of their ideas and future execution of the business,” said Iipinge.
Some 20 startups were shortlisted through an evaluation process based on innovation, market size, growth potential and willingness to adapt and use provided business advice. All 20 startups pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges.
The judging panel was comprised of StartUp Namibia, Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), Business Financial Solutions (BFS), Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), EOS Capital and the Namibia Business Angel Network (NABAN).
The 10 victorious startups were Red Apron, LEFA, Eco-Gliding Tours, Kanie, Worms R Us, Sci-Data, Verime, Nam Tutors, Jumper Namibia and Kamatjona. Each of these provided innovative concepts that spoke to the judges and stood out as feasible businesses focused on growth.
“Some of the most successful startups are born in crises and out of necessity, this is a time of global disruption. Now is the time to go bold, because bold is the new normal. The startups definitely were bold, presenting fresh and unique ideas demonstrating that the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and their young, new and innovative businesses is alive and kicking,” said Anna Vambe, StartUp Namibia Project Manager.
The StartUp Namibia project is a joint Namibian-German technical cooperation project for sustainable economic development, funded by the German government and implemented by GIZ together with the Namibian Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT), the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology, and Innovation (MHETI) and the City of Windhoek
Basecamp, the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre of the StartUp Namibia project was launched to support and strengthen Namibia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.