Young entrepreneurs linked to angel investors through new Namibia Entrepreneurs web portal
Access to angel investors as a means to funding for start-up entrepreneurs, last week for the first time became a reality for young Namibians who are keen to start their own enterprises but find themselves against a brickwall when it comes to financing.
This concept was introduced at a breakfast for budding and prospective entrepreneurs organised by the Business School at the University of Namibia in partnership with the Financial Literacy Initiative and the Wadhwani Foundation.
The foundation has a southern African chapter based in South Africa and is run by its Executive Vice President, Bafana Kubheka. He visited Windhoek to participate as a presenter at the breakfast, introducing the entrepreneurs to an alternative form of funding. At the same event, a dedicated, local digital portal, namibiaentrepreneurs.com was launched. This website is exclusively for young entrepreneurs looking for the ever-elusive funding of their business plans.
The Wadhwani Foundation is the creation of Dr Rimesh Wadhwani, a Silicon Valley investor who now takes funding opportunities across the world through his foundation. Working together with its Namibian partners running the entrepreneurial website, it offers funding accompanied by training and mentoring.
The director of UNAM’s Business School, Professor Grafton Whyte said a lot is happening in the local entrepreneurial space but efforts are fragmented and there is no entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“With this portal we want bring together different stakeholders for the benefit of entrepreneurs and provide a toolbox for start-ups,” he said.
Through a partnership with the Wadhwani Foundation, the website known as Namibia Entrepreneurs, offers mentoring, training and funding to students who want to start a company.
“Wadhwani will work with Namibia Entrepreneurs by supporting young Namibians and early-stage enterprises with mentoring, learning tools and investor connects,’ said Kubheka.
Prof Whyte said they are targetting 10% of new graduates every year, adding that Namibia’s tertiary institutions produce about 10,000 graduated new jobseekers every year in a job market that already suffers from a 43% unemployment rate in the age group 15 to 34.
The director of the Financial Literacy Initiative, Francois Brandt, announced at the breakfast that this year’s Start-up Festival will be held over two days at the end of June with the UNAM Business School as partner for a symposium to promote entrepreneurship.
Caption: From the left, Prof Grafton Whyte of the UNAM Business School, Bafana Kubheka of the Wadhwani Foundation and Francois Brandt of the Financial Literacy Initiative.