Team Namibia, a member-based non-profit movement aimed at the promotion of quality local manufactured products and services, held a donor event – Team Namibia Lion’ Den – for Katutura-based SME’s that partake in Team Namibia’s SME entrepreneurship training programme, financed by the Embassy of Finland. The event was held on 15 August 2019 at Kubata City Hotel, Windhoek, where 11 (eleven) entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to secure funding, material support and market access.
The donor event arranged by Team Namibia and funded by the Finnish Embassy attracted 48 guests from embassies and high commissions, representatives from donor agencies and non-governmental organisations’s, trust and foundations, financial service providers and senior civil servants from government authorities and state-owned enterprises. The event received the attention from ten ministries, including the presence of the Office of the Prime Minister and a representative from the Secretariat to the Cabinet.
11 (eleven) participants of the SME entrepreneurship training programme took to the platform and presented in less than five minutes their unique products and services. Having started with their businesses in the informal sector all now have registered businesses and the majority have also concluded their business plans.
SMEs who participated at the Team Namibia pitching event included: Jeno’s Kitchen; Twenty-Five Contractors Training Centre; Fojarat Investment; Namib Hospice Health Care Training Academy; Nampila S. Tailoring and Design; Kona MH Chicken Supply cc, Fluffy Mallows, Alehcks Portable Container Homes, Linda P Creations, Katutura Institute of Computer Training and Lexious.
Pitching is an initiative to help entrepreneurs access funding and/ or material in order to grow businesses. It is about convincing donors to inject funds in one’s business.The SMEs addressed their financial projections and indeed entrepreneurs delivered powerful pitches. Different guests offered advice and pledged support to the businesses financially or by providing equipment or in any other way.
The products and services offered by the up-and-coming businesses range from bakery, housing containers, confectionaries, fashion design and tailoring, computer training, supply of chicken eggs, training in customer services, production of cleaning detergents and building maintenance on a retainer basis.
Jan Coetzee, founder of Headway Consulting Pty Ltd and chairperson of Team Namibia in his opening remarks said: “I believe that this project is running at the time when it is most needed. Many of you are faced with budget constraints. Can you then imagine how our small business strive to making ends meet? Believe me, every little bit of support counts”.
“I trust that your support and contributions will become an important milestone in each and every business presenting here today. I am confident that your presence here today also signifies your support to the activities of our organisation and hope that we can forge strategic partnerships and can continue to build on today’s activities.”
Guests actively engaged and were enthused by some of the SMEs participant’s products. Jeno’s Kitchen high quality cupcakes were likened to the cupcakes of Washington, United States of America aka Maureen Posthuma, marketing manager, of Namibia Tourism Board. Andreas Simon, public relations officer at Ministry of Mines and Energy recommended SMEs participants of the good work they are doing. His opinion is that, a product like, Fluffly marshmallows should be should not only appear on retailers’ shelves but a should also be provided as a sweet snack on every aircraft flying to and from Namibia. Eike Krafft, Olthaver & List Group said, maintaining and continuously improving the quality of products produced will increase chances of getting shelf space. Some of the SMEs’ products can compete internationally and they would need to strive to eventually to secure that. Rosemary Shipiki from Pupkewitz Holdings, admired the home-based care service offered by Namib Hospice Health Care Training Academy and felt that a significant gap is being filled in the local market with this service.
Topias Tamminen, representative of the Embassy of Finland said: “Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs is the key to the revival of the Namibian economy. Supporting SMEs is a sure way to revive and grow the Namibian economy”.
Bärbel Kirchner, account director of Team Namibia highlighted the need to continuous support and invest in upcoming local businesses, to enable economic sustainability: “We hope that indeed we can support our small businesses get off the ground – either through financial or material support or indeed through market access.”
Finally, SMEs participants commended the Embassy of Finland and Team Namibia for the opportunity granted and business skills received. The donor event provided the opportunity for networking, exposure and development, which may lead to products and services expansion.
The draw of the business cards during the networking session also became the acme of the event. Andreas Simon, public relations officer of Ministry of Mines and Energy , Utaraa Hovela of NAMCOR and Nomvula Kambida of Namibia Post and Telecoms Holdings walked away with a bottle each of local produced wine courtesy of Erongo Winery Mountain Pvt Ltd.
At the end of the “hunting spree”, each lion went home, with the ‘Team Namibia Uukumwe shopping bags” with different local products courtesy of Namibia Breweries, Namibia Dairies and Desert Secrets Namibia and Fluffly Marshmallows. Team Namibia aims to make local products and services part of everyday life – a sure way to build consumer confidence in local products and services.