14 September 2017

Namibia, Germany and Finland Take Start-Ups to Next Level

Windhoek — This year the Namibia University of Science and Technology Fabrication Laboratory (NUST FABlab), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development, and the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme 2 (SAIS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, have partnered into a colossal cooperative entity aiming to facilitate real change in the country.

The local start-up scene is still in its infancy, but when three major institutions join forces big things can and will be achieved. Technology and start-ups are being taken to the next level and Namibian business will undoubtedly never be the same again.

FABlab, GIZ and SAIS are co-hosting a PITCH NIGHT on September 26, 2017 for local start-ups that are aligned with the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). The best pitch will be awarded the amazing opportunity to attend the renowned SLUSH event at the end of the year, sponsored by SAIS. SLUSH is Europe's leading start-up and technology event held annually in Helsinki, Finland. More than 17,500 attendees descend on the Finnish capital to grow their business, where entrepreneurs, business owners and creatives can exchange ideas and network with each other, pushing their businesses and technology to the next level.

The event helps the next generation of great, world-conquering companies to expand and grow exponentially with support from global leaders, founders, investors and experienced entrepreneurs.

In 2016 over 2,300 start-ups and 1,100 investors attended SLUSH, and this year will undoubtedly see more and more innovators flocking to Finland, amongst them Namibia's most promising young start-up.

FABlab director and co-founder, Kirstin Wiedow, said: "This is an amazing opportunity for the country's young innovators. We are excited to be working with a fantastic cohort of passionate supporters of Namibia; the Finnish team at the SAIS programme and the German team at GIZ.

"Together we will be hosting the PITCHNIGHT on the 26th of September where the finalists have the opportunity to present to a hand-picked and highly knowledgeable jury, and the most promising start-up winner will be chosen. The online applications opened recently and we already have some exciting applicants in the mix."

The applicants need to be assessed to check that they meet all the minimum qualifying criteria and only a few will make it through to the grand finale event #PITCHNIGHTNAM. Some jury members already confirmed, who will support the selection of the Namibian representatives, are PWC Namibia, Baobab Capital, One Economy Foundation and Weatherman & Co with more jury members set to be released up to the date of the event.

SAIS will finance Namibia's most promising start-up, that will be provided with a tailor-made facilitated trip around the Helsinki start-up ecosystem. This will help them further their business prior to attending this world-class event and gain insight and networking prospects.

Highlights of this year's SLUSH event are speakers such as David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies, and Tom Hulme of Google Ventures, Leap Motions CEO Micheal Buckwald and Lu Zhang of NewGen Capital.

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