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NCRST National Innovation Challenge for Women and FemBioBiz Challenge III

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Written By: Tutala Natalia Uushona

From left to right: Ms Anna Vambe: Team Leader: Start-up Namibia Incubation Centre, GIZ ( GIZ sponsored the winning prizes on behalf of the Government of Germany); Ms Iriya Jona – Nam-Oceanic Kelp Production Enterprise CC 1st prize: N$ 80 000.00 ; Dr Leya Elago – Genetix Metazoa TM 2nd Prize: N$ 60 000.00 ; Ms Paulina Alfeus – Power Six Investment CC 3rd Prize: N$ 40 000.00; Ms Loide Amadhila – Chrisla Essentials Cosmetics CC 4th prize :Mentorship and Export readiness support; Ms Aletha Afrikaner – EarthChild Creations CC 5th prize: N$ 20 000.00; Ms Lovisa Immanuel: Manager for Innovation and Industrial Research Division (NCRST).

On 31 July 2019, the National Commission on Research Science and Technology hosted the final stage of the National Innovation Challenge for Women and FemBioBiz Challenge season III in collaboration with GIZ and HIVOS. It aims to create a network of bioentrepreneurs and provide support to the entrepreneur and finally create awareness for women in the bio sciences. The challenge had started with 47 participants who had gone through two eliminating phases of training and pitching. Leaving 14 participants in the final stage where they pitch their ideas to an audience and a panel of judges which consisted of;

  • Mr. John Mbango – Development Bank of Namibia Head of Lending Department,
  • Mr. Gerson Shaanika – SME Development and Promotion Official at City of Windhoek (Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre,
  • Ms. Tanya Turipamwe Stroh – Creative Director at Turipamwe Design,
  • Mrs. Geraldine Itana – Programmes Associate Gender and Governance at UNDP,
  • Mrs. Uajorokisa Akwenye – CEO of One Economy Foundation at the Office of the First Lady,
  • Mrs. Anna Vambe – Start-up Namibia Incubation Centre at GIZ.

The businesses / ideas that made it through to the final stage of pitching included, Genetix Metazoa which deals with animal forensic testing by Dr. Leya Elago. Synthetic furniture done through a harmless process to the environment under Power Six Investment cc by Paulina Alfeus. A FindIt SMS Directory that would provide visibility to service providers via text message by Desiree Cloete. Julia Nangolo’s Learning Hub that would make study material accessible to grade 10 and 12 learners. The Millenial Ondelela by Chantal Kambrude which is a textile design. Mist Agricultural Laboratory that would be specialising in training emerging farmers on soil testing, bookkeeping, and food testing etc. by Sophia Isala which was presented by her co-partner Maria Shipapo. Efolyekaya Namibia which manufactures and supplies alternative building materials made from plastic and is 100% recyclable and an affordable and durable solution to housing.

We’ve also seen a number of ideas from the cosmetic industry like; Sarita oil blends by Nali Andreki, a unisex organic hair product for retaining moisture and assisting with hair growth. Zodidi Gaseb’s Africa Naturals Production cc which produces hair and skin products, and offer consultations on hair and skin care. They currently have 10 products under their line. Chrisla Essentials Cosmetics cc by Loide Amadhila, a hair and skin product line which has 8 products under its line. These products tackle anything from acne, scarring, maintaining a youthful look, moisture, hair length and growth and finally aroma therapy. Hannah Nangula’s Foundation which consists of 8 shades and is the first Namibian full coverage cream with a matte finish that comes with a brush. Other ideas tapped in the agricultural sector such as, Mo-nize Farm2Plate by Monica Gwala who owns a farm that produces vegetables in Otjiwarongo. They also farm poultry and produces eggs with the hope of supplying SADC wide. Lusia Simon who is based in Endola pitched Mama N Agricultural Enterprises which is an integrated food production and processing that would focus on the production of tilapia fish, chicken and vegetables. Finally, Nam-Oceanic Kelp Production Enterprise cc by Iriya Jona that would be producing chicken feed from seaweed that is farmed from the ocean and will cover all nutritional elements required, hence no supplements will be needed and they would be wholly produced in Namibia.

All these businesses / ideas tapped into different industries that have not been fully explored in Namibia and each pitcher brought a different flare to the industry through their innovative approach. The end of the challenge saw Iriya Jona walk away with the 1st prize worth N$ 80 000.00, Dr. Leya Elago 2nd prize worth N$ 60 000.00, Paulina Alfeus 3rd prize worth N$ 40 000.00, Loide Amadhila in 4th place, who indicated that she did not need funds so her cash prize was transferred to the 5th place pitcher, Aletha Afrikaner worth N$ 20 000.00. GIZ sponsored the prizes on behalf of the government of Germany. These challenges are very innovative and assist start-ups and we at Launch Magazine applaud the NCRST for empowering women in entrepreneurship.

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