The award ceremony and Pitch Night for the Old Mutual Sustainable, Economic & Empowerment Drive (OM SEED) initiative in Oshakati yesterday created some memorable moments as this concluded the OM SEED initiative for 2022.

Three entrepreneurs from Oshakati won their share of N$85 000, and showcased the determination and drive of the entrepreneurs in the northern part of the country.

Old Mutual Namibia along with Launch Namibia, the Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab completed the third and final edition of the OM SEED initiative on 18 August 2022, with the top 20 Oshakati entrepreneurs taking the stage to pitch their ideas to a panel of three judges.

During the Award Ceremony, Jacobina Nangula of Oshana Ceramics Manufacturing CC walked away with the first prize of N$50 000.

“Today is a special day for me. Through the prize money I am able to acquire new machinery to expand and increase our ceramic production and better promote our business,” Nangula says.

Nangula encourages the youth to never give up on their dreams, and “work hard to realise your dreams, because through that you can create more job opportunities for other Namibians and better our economy”.

Omwene-Tupopila Haitula of Tupo Namfood CC came in second place and won N$25 000.

“Today I am really happy and grateful. I don’t even know what to say, but the prize money will help me build a new chicken house and expand my business. I want to encourage other entrepreneurs to never stop shooting your shot. One day you will be rewarded for the risks you take to make your dreams a reality,” Haitula says.

Abner Tomas of Ndaka Mushrooms and Processing came in third place and won N$10 000.

“The money I won today will play an integral part in me growing my business, and I hope of investing it in marketing to better position my brand in the market. I want to encourage other entrepreneurs to start working on their dreams today. Don’t wait for that perfect moment, just start and believe in yourself and your dream,” Tomas says.

During the award ceremony Mufaro Nesongano, Manager: Communications and Old Mutual Foundation said the team was humbled to be able to play a part in helping Namibian entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality.

“We started this journey off in Windhoek, and ended it off in style in Oshakati. From more than 800 applications, we were able to impact 180 entrepreneurs through business and financial training.

“Out of these we awarded nine entrepreneurs from Windhoek, Keetmanshoop and Oshakati with much needed capital to expand their businesses. Additionally, the nine entrepreneurs will also be incubated for a three-month period to assist them in utilising their training and capital in the most effective way to better position their businesses in the market.”

“We saw ideas pitched from such a diverse field of business sectors, and we hope that OM SEED has been able to highlight how important skills development, training and guidance is for our grassroots entrepreneurs,” Nesongano adds.

The Mayor of Oshakati, Leonard Hango, commended OM SEED for the impact it had in the lives of local entrepreneurs.

“I am impressed by the dedication seen today by our entrepreneurs. Our country has exceptional talent, and seeing corporates like Old Mutual invest in our Namibian entrepreneurs warms my heart. We are hoping other corporates will join in to help us build and grow our economy,” Hango says.

In conclusion Chuma Siboleka, Financial Literacy Initiative Senior Economist: Trainings and Coordination congratulated the vigour and determination of the entrepreneurs who took to the stage in Oshakati.

“OM SEED has showed me the talent we have in our country and I want to applaud each and every entrepreneur. You have shown hard work, enthusiasm and commitment to realise your dreams through your pitches, and we are excited to see how your business will grow,” Siboleka says.

In the photo: The lucky potter, Jakobina Nangula, who won capital of N$50 000 for her ceramics business.

(By Ashante Manetti, Acting Marketing and Communications Executive, Old Mutual Namibia)