Meeting young entrepreneurs, who solve problems that matter, discovering how social entrepreneurship can help in the process of building strong communities, and exploring the ecosystem in Namibia, were the key points during the Contact Making -Seminar that took place in Namibia.
The team of Mladiinfo International together with the European partners Risky Business from Romania and ICT4D.at from Austria , hosted by our partners and friends Young Africa Namibia, as part of the Youth Empowerment through Social Entrepreneurship “We Care, Too” (YES WE CARE 2) project, have mapped and visited social businesses and social business connectors in the two cities of Namibia – Windhoek and Otjiwarongo.
At the first day of the Seminar, the project team was welcomed by the hosts and partners –Young Africa Namibia at their offices and the solar technology franchise, where they offer courses for young people. They also provide vocational skills for hundreds of young people in the areas like welding or solar energy, leading to increased employment rates.
During the visit, the team also had a chance to visit Theo’s Superspar one of the best retail markets which is great role model for large companies that want to get involved in their community, helping grow the next generation of entrepreneurs through a rigorous program, and Omake Charity Organization that helps people in need in the city of Otjiwarongo, with different initiatives and donations. They also organize various activities such as fundraising events, gathering sponsors and providing help for youth and needy households.
The UNAM Incubator within the University of Namibia, was also one of the stops at this study visit. They are educating and empowering the students by stimulating socio-economic development through social-innovation resulting from interlaying science, technology and entrepreneurship.
The amazing story of Lowbousky Kaalushu, a young social entrepreneur and owner of Kosmima food truck, was really inspiring. An orphanage himself, he provides affordable food to students at the University of Namibia, as well as creates jobs for disadvantaged youth in the country.
The journey continued with a visit to One Economy Foundation a non-profit organization launched by the first lady of Namibia Monica Geingo, that strives to serve as a conduit for transformation by connecting Namibia’s formal and informal economies and serving as a bridge over which Namibians in the “second” economy or operating on the peripheries of the “first” economy can cross and fully utilize their talents in one economy.
SMEs Compete company whose objective is to improve entrepreneurial, management, marketing, and information technology skills of SMEs in Namibia, was also part of the agenda for the day.
Another great example was Dololo Namibia – a community of entrepreneurs and startups that provide services to corporate businesses, organizations and institutions in the form of internal innovation sessions, impact workshops, coaching, team building, and events.
The team also had the chance to talk with the young entrepreneur Festus Malakia from Unique Empowerment and Employment Initiative Foundation. They provide training in the field of entrepreneurship and help young people to boost their skills for their future employment and to become change-makers in their communities.
One more exciting place the participating organizations visited was the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) – Namibia’s heart of Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship! The NBII embraces the cycle of innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting innovators, inventors, aspiring entrepreneurs, and young people through idea creation, mobile app, product and business development which will lead to a globally competitive economy and inclusive society.
Lithon Foundation is an excellent organization that is making a difference in the lives of people and communities, through mentorship and leadership on spiritual, administrative, financial and management level.
Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre was the place where we learned a lot about the power of art in life. This dance school provides quality dance education for youth and passionate dancers as well as promote youth empowerment and diversity through dance.
Among the non-profit organizations that we visited was the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change . They are working together with youth from different ages, educational institutions and government bodies in order to build a strong foundation on dealing with uncertainties and adapt to climate change.
Processing and manufacturing agricultural goods is the main aim of Efimano Agri-Processing. It is a sector with huge potential to create jobs and income opportunities for young people and boost their skills in this filed. In addition, they are addressing the issue with the lack of water.
One of the best platforms for search and information sharing that we had the opportunity to hear about was Simple Search Namibia. They are also connecting businesses and people in order to provide easy access to different information from Namibia to the youth as well as to the general public.
Momoga Film Production is a creative example on how to use film as a method to raise awareness about social issues. They are starting to involve youth with fewer opportunities from Namibia, in their activities.
We are very happy that we met many young social businesses and entrepreneurs who are motivating young people from Africa to be engaged in social entrepreneurial activities, empowering and supporting them on their way to create social businesses and initiatives and that are driving force and chance in the lives of the young people.
It was a pleasure exchanging advices and experiences!
Stay tuned – the next activity within the Yes We Care 2 project will be the third Contact –Making Seminar in Zimbabwe very soon!
Photo credits: Ana-Maria Bujor
Author: Sanja Cvetkovikj