Innovation winner puts the fire in the firelighter
Start-up entrepreneur, Peter Till walked away this week with a cool N$25,000 to boost the growth of his small enterprise, Omulilo Firelighters.
Till’s business emerged the winner in an innovation competition sponsored by Sanlam called Sanlam Innovation Works which ran this year for the third time.
Sanlam Innovation Works run under the auspices of the Namibia Business Innovation Institute at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
At the beginning of the year, five businesses were selected from the large pool of entrants, seeding each with N$50,000. This had to be invested in the competing business to determine at the end of the year, which one has generated the highest return on investment.
Acting as coach, guide and mentor, the Business Innovation Institute monitored the five businesses’ progress through the year. Based on the same criteria as applied in a standard assessment, Omuriro Firelighters proved to be the best-performing start-up.
At the award ceremony, Hilaria Graig, Sanlam’s Manager of Marketing and Communications, emphasized the importance of innovation stating that it opens doors to many opportunities for job creation.
Graig said Sanlam is happy to see its investment in everyday Namibians paying off and the enormous ripple effects it has on employment creation.
Prof. Pio Lumaga, the Director of Innovation Design Lab at the innovation institute, explained why large corporates need to support infant enterprises and help create more opportunities to enable them to grow. “Challenges such as lack of access to funding, access to information, training and mentorship are some of the well-documented obstacles faced by SMEs in general and in Namibia in particular.” he said.
To date 16 start-ups have gone through the innovation works many of which have and continue to create employment for many people around the country. Sanlam said that the call for entries for the 2018 Sanlam Innovation Works will be announced in December.
Pictured, from the left, Prof. Pio Lumaga (NBII), Peter Till (Muriro Firelighters), Hilary Graig (Sanlam), Edwin Kavihuha (NBII), Bernice Karuhumba (NBII) and Dessa Simanga (Sanlam).