Namibia doing well in entrepreneurship awards

Sylvanie Beukes, entrepreneur and Principal Consultant at SB Consultants explaining and mentoring entrepreneurs on how to open and run a successful business. Beukes was instrumental in getting Namibia into the top ten for the African Entrepreneurship Awards. (Photograph by Mandisa Rasmeni).

Namibia is in the top 10 of the African Entrepreneurship Awards after the first round of judging, which ended on 31 July 2015. Fifty two countries in Africa submitted projects to qualify for the awards and the final results will be announced in October 2015.

Sylvanie Beukes, entrepreneur, Principal Consultant at SB Consultants and also a mentor and judge at the awards said that they have recently completed doing the second round of evaluation with the third round, the validation part of the adjudication process, to be completed by the end of September or early into October.The judges are now verifying all the entrepreneurs and their ideas. “The first round was to sort out the ideas according to the most needed in the region, the second round is to look at scalability and the final round would be to look at relevance,” explained Beukes.
He said that the judging is a very challenging task but what was exceptionally helpful was the mentoring system that used a combination of a well-designed website interface and email correspondence that really made it possible to score and mentor entrepreneurs on an individual basis on specific interventions regarding their proposals. “It was also easy to keep track of comments and updates but the challenge was time. “With so many great ideas it is really difficult to be the one making the call as to which one is the most relevant,” he emphasised. “I have mentored a number of proposals and entrepreneurs not only from Namibia but Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia,” he concluded. 2900 proposals relevant to 40 countries were submitted from entrepreneurs in Africa and nine countries in the diaspora. Only 10% or 290 proposals were chosen in the region as ‘most needed in the region’, to continue to round two, ‘most likely to scale across Africa’.
Of those 290 entries, Namibia is in the top 10 countries coming in at number 9 with 12 proposals selected to go to rounds two and three, just one less than Uganda and Ethiopia.
The top 10 are, Nigeria, 45 proposals, Senegal, 29 proposals, Kenya, 28 proposals, Ghana, 24 proposals, South Africa, 21 proposals, Cameroon, 18 proposals, Ethiopia and Uganda, tied with 13 proposals each, Namibia, 12 proposals, and Tanzania, 11 proposals.
The awards aim to help Namibians start businesses that will create jobs, improve lives and inspire others in Namibia and across Africa.