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Entrepreneurs find their true north at Start-up Festival

Entrepreneurs find their true north at Start-up Festival

Namibia’s first two-day Start-up Festival was held last week at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek and the Namibian University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) FABlab joined the organising committee in putting together the event.

The event started on Friday 9 June and kicked off with a speech by the First Lady, Monica Geingos. A host of national and international specialists and highly acclaimed individuals in different fields came to present, share and galvanise the attendees into starting their own dream ‘start-up’ and believing that it could be made into a reality.

On the second day FABlab Namibia hosted the robotics sessions as well as the much anticipated ADDventure start-up pitches. The day saw a real Who’s Who of entrepreneurs and ‘ideas’. FABlab Namibia, a centre of excellence at NUST, presented their acclaimed ADDVENTURE business-matchmaking platform.

This was a highly anticipated match-making event as part of the Start-up Festival. A panel of seven local equity investors scrutinised six aspiring start-up ideas as part of the final pitch session on Saturday afternoon.

The panel consisted of; IJG Capital, Business Partners, the First Ladies One Economy Foundation, Baobab Capital, Weatherman & Co, 500 start-ups from Silicon Valley and European Investment Bank (EIB), which sponsored the prize of 5000 Euros in start-up financing for the best idea and pitch.

Each eager young innovative entrepreneur had five minutes to deliver a power packed pitch in order to convince the panel that their idea should walk away with the investment and get a major boost to grow their business.

The six pitchers represented; Embrace chalk factory, The FIXMAN, Lolitas shoe-tech, UniGear, Trackzilla and MOME low-cost housing. The winner was Roel Rutgers of MOME housing who was awarded the grand prize by EIB Bank’s Rainer Fitz, equivalent to N$75000.

Kirstin Wiedow, Director of FABlab, said, “The event was the best one so far, with guaranteed prize money as well as major interest for all of the pitchers from the local investors. This clearly shows that innovation can come from anywhere and that Namibia can be a leading innovator in Africa and globally, if we continue to support the local eco-system”.

According to the organisers, the Start-Up Festival was a resounding success and already the partners involved are looking forward and thinking about next year’s event.

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