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FABlab calls innovators and inventors to showcase their projects at upcoming Pitch Night

FABlab calls innovators and inventors to showcase their projects at upcoming Pitch Night

Naomi Kefas of Clean Products know all about the value of a pitch night and it has nothing to do with how dark it was. She pitched her product and business idea to a panel at the University of Science and Technology’s FABlab, got the green light and is now making waves with her product range manufactured by local company Magnetize Investments.

Another pitch night it scheduled for 26 September 2017 but this time the stakes are much higher. In the time since the previous round of pitch nights, FABlab has partnered with the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the 2nd Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme of the German Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

FABlab Director, Kirstin Wiedow announced the upcoming pitch night saying the local start-up scene is still in its infancy but with three such heavyweigth institutions joining forces, technology and start-ups are being taken to the next level. “The online applications opened recently and we already have some exciting applicants in the mix,” she said.

Local start-ups who wish to pitch must submit their projects to FABlab through the online registration process. Each project offered for consideration must be aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Wiedow said the best pitch will be awarded the opportunity to attend the renowned SLUSH event at the end of the year, sponsored by the German economic development ministry.
SLUSH is Europe’s leading start-up and technology event held every year in Helsinki, Finland. It attracts more than 17,000 visitors comprising entrepreneurs, business owners and creative inventors. It offers a networking platform to all its visitors to promote their ideas and to take their technological inventions to a wider potential market.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the country’s young innovators. We are excited to be working with a fantastic cohort of passionate supporters of Namibia; the Finnish team at the SAIS programme and the German team at the GIZ. Together we will be hosting the PITCHNIGHT where the finalists have the opportunity to present their projects to a hand-picked and highly knowledgeable jury who will chose the most promising start-up.

All applicants need to be assessed to check that they meet all the minimum qualifying criteria and only a few will make it through to the grand finale event #PITCHNIGHTNAM.
SAIS will finance Namibia’s most promising start-up who will go on a customised facilitated trip around the Helsinki start-up ecosystem to promote their ideas before signing in for SLUSH.

FABlab Namibia is the first advanced manufacturing, prototyping and design laboratory in Namibia and the largest FABlab in Africa.



About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.