Namibia Names Meet the Lions Finalists
Erin Wiley (GEW global) @wileyea
Nov 17, 2012
National Meet the Lions competitions are taking place all across Africa. Earlier this week Namibia announced their finalists. The winner will received mentorship experience, global recognition and a chance to compete in the finals in 2013.
Anna Mafwila – Katu Tours and Safaris
Anna Mafwila started Katu Tours and Safaris in 2011. The company introduces tourists to Katutura, an often unseen neighbourhood of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital.
During the apartheid era, non-whites were forced to leave their homes and move to a new settlement. They called the new settlement Katutura, which translates to “place where we do not want to stay.” Since then, Katutura has become a culturally rich area of the city with enormous diversity amongst its residents. Although Katutura has experienced economic growth, it remains a community with significant challenges. While Namibia has a booming tourism industry from its vast spaces, breathtaking landscapes, and unique ecosystems, Katutura has remained mostly shut off from the opportunities created by this industry.
Katu Tours and Safaris seeks to rectify this problem by turning this previously shut off community into a tourist destination. The company offers bicycle tours of Katutura, creating employment opportunities and economic stimulus to the community while providing tourists with a more intimate sense of Namibia than they could ever develop from the window of a safari bus. The tours promote cross-cultural understanding, as tourists experience the community and culture they otherwise would never see.
Katu Tours and Safaris is the only bicycle tour operator in Namibia. With its low capital requirements, minimal environmental impact, and ability to turn previously disadvantaged communities into tourist destinations, this company shows strong potential to be adapted in communities all over Africa.
Read more about Katu Tours in this article from The Namibian newspaper.
Phillip and Andrew Sikongo –Taramo Live
Phillip and Andrew Sikongo have been entrepreneurs from birth. Growing up in the northeast of Namibia, they sold fruit and wire cars and offered bicycle lessons to their peers. As they grew older, they started offering movie and video game nights for their school. Later, they created a school computer lab, which grew into a PC repair business.
Today the Sikongos, who are twin brothers, are best known in Namibia for their television program Taramo Live. Recognising that traditional television advertising does little to engage the viewer, the Sikongos created Taramo Live to bring people and businesses together in an interactive way. The program, which is shown all over the country on Namibia’s two television channels, features a local business, then offers viewers the chance to compete for free products from that business in a live SMS competition. Taramo also offers a web platform, www.otaramo.com, which allows visitors to ‘grab’ products in a similar competition format.
As the world becomes more connected and interactive, Taramo’s engaging and fun method of business promotion will continue the ways in which Africa thinks about advertising.
Kennedy Shindodi – Brain Child Technologies
Throughout Africa, food security is a pressing issue. In Namibia, where the overwhelming majority of food products are imported from neighbouring South Africa, availability of food depends on the stability of agriculture, ranching, and international distribution networks. The Namibian food supply is subject to significant price fluctuations caused by labour unrest and climate conditions.
Kennedy Shindodi saw an opportunity to develop food supply independence and bring economic growth to local villages which are largely isolated from economic opportunities in urban areas. Although many Namibian villages grow large amounts of crops, they often do not see the benefits or the commercial value of their crops.
Kennedy decided to use his business smarts to spur economic growth in these communities. He works with local groups, such as youth groups, women’s groups, and other groups of disadvantaged individuals to source his products. He trains the groups and provides necessary equipment for them to harvest and prepare the crops for processing. He then processes and packages the products under the brand name Okuku Local Produce, distributing them to national and international markets. Kennedy distributes his products to Namibian supermarkets across the country. He has also found a strong market in Europe, especially among Africans living there.
Okuku uses local products, such as mahangu, a form of millet, and marula, a multi-purpose fruit. Kennedy is proud to say that with one crop, he can create several products and provide employment for months even after the harvesting period has ended.
Kennedy has created employment opportunities and economic growth in villages and among groups who previously had minimal access to economic opportunities. He also contributes to solving the issues of food security and rising food prices in Namibia, while working towards food independence and expanded local markets. He calls himself a socialpreneur, as his main goal is to economically empower rural communities.
In the coming years, Kennedy hopes to expand Brain Child Technologies to implement new techniques, such as urban farming and dry farming techniques.
Stefanus Petrus- Oshaanawa horticulture
Stefanus Petrus first experienced horticulture when he was trained by the Namibian government in small-scale horticulture techniques. After inheriting 20 hectares of land from his grandmother, he decided to put his training into use.
Starting with a small portion of his land, Stefanus implemented an irrigation system and started growing crops and vegetables using the innovative techniques he learned in his training. Stefanus works in northern Namibia, where most communities only grow one or two staple grains, but very few vegetables. With his innovative techniques, he is encouraging communities to grow vegetables which are usually only available from retailers who bring in produce from other parts of the country or South Africa.
Most farmers in his area rely exclusively on rainfall in order to grow their crops, but Stefanus is working to encourage them to use innovative irrigation techniques in order to grow their vegetables year round, not only during the rainy season.
With his techniques in place, Stefanus hopes that communities will be able to use locally grown vegetables and improve their food security. He sees his techniques as a way to change the face of agriculture in the north of Namibia.
Clive Mazvimavi- African Business Solutions
Clive Mazvimavi started his company as a media production house. After seeing the needs of the small and medium enterprise (SME) community, he redeveloped the company into a business development firm.
With SMEs forming the backbone of economic growth in Namibia, Clive believes his business plays an important role in the development of the national economy. Previously, many SMEs lacked the budget for outside business development consultants, limiting their possibilities for growth. By providing affordable business development, creative development, advertising and web development services to SMEs, African Business Solutions provides new growth opportunities for these enterprises.
In Namibia, many have turned to entrepreneurship as a means to improve their livelihoods and create employment opportunities in their communities. However, since these individuals often lack essential business skills, these enterprises face limited potential for growth. By providing business development services at low prices, African Business Solutions hopes to remove these limitations and contribute to economic growth. It is also allowing new enterprises to take advantage of today’s connectivity by building their web presence.
Clive is also a strong believer in social responsibility. He has offered free services, such as web development and hosting, to several non-profit organisations.
With newly formed enterprises springing up across the continent, companies like African Business Solutions will play an essential role in Africa’s economic growth.
Learn more about African Business Solutions at www.africanbizsol.com.
[photo credit: Arno & Louise Wildlife]