Making room for innovation

Launch Magazine held its first-ever pitch night at the Confab Bistro on 1 May.

07 May 2019 | Short News

Ester Kamati

Youth took centre stage at Launch Magazine’s first-ever pitch night.

They were able to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning Namibia Business Innovation Centre (NBII) mentorship and a N$5 000 start-up package from Launch Magazine.

The event was hosted by Tanyaradzwa Daringo and Hilkka Nakawa from Zeronine Media. Zulu Boy, the founder of the Gweri Vintage Socks brand, was the guest speaker. The ex-musician shared he wanted a look that was different from everybody else and that is how he became drawn to vintage wear.

He highlighted that his brand was aimed at uniting everybody, regardless of whether they are from a town or village, so they can identify with his Gweri wear.

“Focus on what you are working on,” he said, while advising entrepreneurs not to be too focused on looking for investors.

He reminded the crowed that their dreams are attainable and that anybody can make it. “Always think of how you can make yourself bigger and better.”

He concluded by advising entrepreneurs to experiment and challenge themselves, in order to become powerful.

The pitchers included Reino Kambango, a resident from Kavango West who has seen the impact of road accidents caused by cattle in his region.

He has come up with an innovative idea to curb the problem called the Vizitag, which is a reflective ear tag placed on livestock to enable drivers to easily spot them during the night.

Another pitcher, Loide Amukwa, said pitch night was a learning experience that gave her pointers on how to tackle her next pitch.

Her business idea is Beryl’s ice cream, which she came up with while having an annual cultural festival in mind.

“This is ice cream that is infused with flavours found mainly in Africa,” she explained. She is a student and nail technician who also sells vintage clothes and is evidently business-minded.

With the event drawing to a close, Rauha Uuwanga, a student at the University of Namibia (Unam) School of Medicine took the winning pitch title with her integrated vital signs monitor, aimed at reducing the mortality rate in the country. With plans to assemble the device in the Land of the Brave, Uuwanga evidently impressed the judges with her presentation.

Kennedy Liswani commended her on her presentation and said she showed an understanding of her product.

A surprise for the pitch night attendees was Vivicia Negumbo and Selma Shaanika, two 15-year-old girls from the north who described themselves as “the next big thing”.

They pitched their idea of a music app called Jive, which they aim to use as a tool to uplift local artists. The technologically-savvy duo aim to prove to people that two ordinary kids from the north can make it big. Negumbo said if a local song is rated highly on their Jive app, listeners can rest assured that the song is a hit.

Tom Shilongo, the founder of Launch Magazine, awarded the teens, who were the youngest pitchers, a cash prize at the end of the night for their efforts and mind-blowing presentation. He, however, did not disclose the amount.

The teens hope that potential investors will show interest in their app and help them realise their dream.

Uuwanga said the feeling of winning pitch night was “beyond cloud nine”.

She said the experience had boosted her courage to innovate and change the business world. The 20-year-old added that listening to people’s opinions is what holds entrepreneurs back.

“Just do it,” she said, adding she will fully utilise the opportunity.

She said the other pitchers had proven themselves and should now work towards building strong networks.

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