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Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurial growth

Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurial growth

The Start-up Namibia 2019/2020 Accelerator programme, led by GIZ on behalf of the German Government, is a 9-month programme just kicked off.

It recently selected exceptional early-stage Namibian companies to develop their product, sharpen their business model, connect with other start-ups and grow their network.

The five Start-ups went through a rigorous judging process and were chosen based on their performance at the Seedstars Windhoek Bootcamp and Pitching event in November. Start-up Namibia is a Namibian-German technical cooperation project, financed by the German Government and implemented by GIZ. It works together with Namibians to support them in realizing their dream of becoming entrepreneurs and business owners.

The five start-ups that will be receiving support are:

Derenas Investment: Tyre Recycling Plant in Rundu – producing crumb rubber to be transformed into pavers, astros, tar roads, etc.

Tasked: An app that helps you save time (to focus on important stuff) and money (by setting the price) by empowering others (through delegation).

Ohunguriva Investment: Poultry farm in Okakarara

EstApp: EstApp brings your happy home to your fingertips through 3 easy steps connects buyer’s with seller’s, match roommates

Ngishe Biotech: Producing Biogas from organic waste; target group: informal settlements

Namibia is facing strong economic headwinds and jobs are scarce, especially for young people, even if they are skilled and have a university degree. Entrepreneurship is one way to break the cycle of unemployment, economic hardship and other societal challenges.

However, people need to be stimulated, motivated, empowered and supported in taking concepts and ideas for businesses to the next level.

GIZ believes that Start-ups have the potential to drive the creation of new jobs in Namibia, as well as have a fundamental impact on overall economic productivity. Start-up entrepreneurs bring new ideas to the table and are a catalyst for innovation. The companies may be small, the entrepreneurs may be young, but their ideas are valid and they can play a significant role in economic growth. Their concepts, ideas once turned into reality and into a working business will create more jobs which means more employment opportunities and in turn an improved economy. Which greatly improves society for all within and that is why GIZ supports these activities.

Starting a business is incredibly challenging and support is needed to make a success of any business, big or small. The assistance given comes in many forms, but are all focused on practically guiding the entrepreneurs through the minefield of being a start-up. This support ranges from; Mentorship, in-kind support like media and Public Relations work, legal advice, practical training and pro-bono support on bookkeeping, accounting and financial management. The concept, product or service of these start-ups may be excellent, but if the foundation upon the business is built isn’t solid, it will not succeed. That is why this support is vital and mentorship and assistance from professionals in the various fields is worth a lot more than just throwing money at the start-ups.

The Start-ups that made it through the very discerning bootcamp will have access to a dedicated team of experts that will assist in accelerating their businesses. Allowing the entrepreneurs to avoid pitfalls and speed up the growth of their business. It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child…well, it’s really no different when it comes to a business. Successful people with their own businesses and expertise will work as a community with the new businesses to make the next generation of start-ups a success, right here in Namibia.

This includes creating visibility with relevant stakeholders such as corporates and investors as well paving the way for access to new market segments and customers in Namibia and beyond. The opportunities are there for the start-ups providing they know and realize it’s an opportunity to grasp with both hands and they will be spoon fed. They will still need to do all the hard work and pioneering themselves…albeit with a lot of support.

Anna Vambe of GIZ said when asked what sets these five start-ups apart; “The five selected Start-ups in the 2019/2020 Accelerator have one thing in common: they are hard-working, they have grit and a desire to learn. We believe in their business ideas and can’t wait to take them to the next stage.”


About The Author


The Economist accommodates two interns every year, one per semester. They are given less demanding, softer issues to hone their skills, often with a specific leaning to social issues. Today, many of our interns are respected journalists or career professionals at economic and financial institutions. - Ed.

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.