The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has announced the winners of the 2016 Good Business and Innovation Awards. The event took place at the Safari Convention Centre in Windhoek, and was presided over by the Minister in Charge of National Planning, Hon Tom Alweendo.
The Good Business Awards recognise a combination of good business practices and contribution to development by larger and emerging enterprises who are DBN clients. The Innovation Award recognises innovative enterprises and initiatives that have the potential to transform Namibian enterprise and socio-economic issues.
In addition to business practices and development impact, recipients of Good Business Large Enterprise Awards were judged on resource utilisation.
The recipient of the Large Enterprise Award was The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund, a member of the Gondwana Group, developed by Bahnhof Properties. The hotel is using Namibia's beauty and the scenic environment of the Erongo Region to strengthen tourism in Namibia. The 54-bed hotel creates additional tourism capacity for the region, as well as providing opportunities for tourist enterprises such as restaurants, shops and activity operators.
Beefcor Meat Supplier, the first runner up, developed abattoir facilities for farmers near Okahandja, strengthening marketing facilities for cattle farmers, with an indirect impact of strengthening job security for farm workers. Omburu Sun Energy, the second runner up, was the first large photovoltaic plant in Namibia, with an output of 4.5 MW. The company generates and sells electricity in terms of an independent power purchasers agreement.
Good Business Emerging Enterprise Awards were rated based on permanent employment creation, in addition to good business practices and development impact.
Octagon Construction was the overall winner of the Emerging Enterprise Award. The company used DBN finance for suspensive sales agreements to acquire heavy construction equipment, which substantially reduces the cost of rental. At the time of the agreement, the company had a personnel complement of 29, with a requirement for a further 19 permanent employees. The company is expected to create up to 100 permanent employment opportunities. Octagon Construction, headquartered in Windhoek with a branch office in Ongwediva, specialises in roads, bridges, municipal infrastructure and housing developments.
First runner up Omaka Investment used DBN finance to construct premises for a building material warehouse in Outapi, operating capital, as well as acquisition of inventory and office equipment. An estimated 50 employment opportunities have been created. Second runner up, Usakos Service Station, used DBN finance to acquire the service station, associated businesses and land in a complete management buy-in. The enterprise is expected to create 50 new permanent jobs.
In 2016, the Innovation Awards sought out ideas with a strong manufacturing basis and those that could address current issues.
The overall winner of the Innovation Award was Kiyomisandz Beauty Products which develops innovative quality skincare and body products for men and women. Established by cosmetic and analytic chemist Sandra Mwiihangele, the company also provides contract services that assist with research & product development, stability testing, quality control, manufacturing and packaging.
First runner up was Green Life Trading, which manufactures plastic fence droppers from recycled plastic. The fence droppers, which can also be used in construction of traditional rural homes, address the problem of litter as well as degradation of trees, are more durable than wood. Second runner up was Dial-A-Water Namibia which provides technology to extract water from humidity in the air. The extractive technology is suitable for use in homes, villages and industry.
Speaking at the event, Minister in Charge of National Planning, Tom Alweendo said that although the country’s strategy of nurturing enterprise has produced tangible results, more must be done to establish enterprises. He said that although labour and capital are available, the entrepreneur acts as an important catalyst to give the necessary spark to economic activities through entrepreneurial decisions, and can play a pivotal role in economic transformation.
When more and more entrepreneurs emerge, Minister Alweendo said, more job opportunities are created for the unemployed. As time passes, these enterprises grow, providing direct and indirect employment opportunities to many more people.
Thanking the Development Bank of Namibia, he concluded by saying that the vision of a Namibian House where no one feels left out will be realised sooner than later.
In his introduction to the event, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi said that the Bank recognises its best performers as a matter of accountability to its stakeholders, as well as to offer encouragement to its customers and future borrowers.
Inkumbi urged stakeholders to recommend the Bank to infrastructure developers and entrepreneurs as a means of obtaining enabling finance for projects and enterprises with a developmentally beneficial development impact.
Hanri Jacobs has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer of the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) in a selection process conducted by the Bank's Board of Directors. She succeeds Renier van Rooyen who left DBN to join the Corporate Advisory Reform Unit of the Ministry of Public Enterprises.
Jacobs will have oversight of the financial management, treasury and IT functions of the Bank.
Previously, she has served as Chief Financial Officer and then Acting Managing Director of NamPower. Thereafter, she joined Manitoba Hydro International, a transmission company, where she was an executive director for the company's Nigerian operation.
Regarding her appointment, DBN CEO Martin Inkumbi said the return of Jacobs to Namibia, and her capability and experience, will stand the Bank in good stead. He elaborated by saying that the Bank will draw on her knowledge and experience of large-scale infrastructure finance, structuring of corporate finance, as well as high-level corporate strategy and governance.
Jacobs obtained her B.Compt. in 1990, and her B.Compt. Hons in 1991. She is a registered Chartered Accountant and passed the examination of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
She has over fifteen years of financial experience in all levels of financial and management accounting and business processes, in addition to five years' SAP implementation experience.
Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Senior Communications Manager Jerome Mutumba encourages local authority representatives and entrepreneurs to visit DBN at the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo taking place from 26 to 29 October. Although the Bank has offices in Walvis Bay, he says DBN’s presence at the Expo is intended to provide a convenient point of contact for visitors from other centres in the Erongo Region who do not regularly visit Walvis Bay.
Mutumba says the Bank views Erongo as a region with major potential for contributing to the development of Namibia's economy.
Mutumba identifies four enterprise areas where the region can be further strengthened: manufacturing, transport and logistics, light and heavy industry, and tourism.
In terms of manufacturing, Mutumba says there is room for growth and diversification of existing enterprises, as well as start-ups. He says that manufacturing can benefit from the Walvis Bay Corridor and trade with neighbouring countries. He identifies the Walvis Bay Corridor and the benefits of SADC regionalisation as a stimulus for enterprise growth in the transport and logistics sector.
Mutumba points out that support for operations of light and heavy industry will be required for growth of the Erongo mining sector, as well as the Port of Walvis Bay and associated marine activity. This will lead to opportunities for growth of existing industrial operations and start-ups.
Tourism, he notes, can be further developed through the establishment of additional enterprises in the accommodation and restaurant subsector. He says that although Walvis Bay and Swakopmund have a high degree of activity in this field, there is room for additional capacity in smaller Erongo centres and conservancies.
Talking about infrastructure, Mutumba urges local authorities to consider the necessity for forward-looking plans to accommodate population growth in the region, as well as the growth of enterprises. He points to water provision as one area that is currently receiving priority consideration. In addition, the servicing of land for affordable housing, the provision of electricity and the construction of roads are requirements for the sustainability of the region in decades to come.
Mutumba says that the Bank has a sound and sustainable pool of finance that can be brought to bear in the Erongo Region. The depth of the pool is illustrated by large-scale provision of finance for Erongo RED and The Delight Hotel.
DBN has a long and successful track record in Erongo. Mutumba lists N$1.934 billion in approvals to the region, and an estimated job impact of 1,703 new jobs and 2,424 temporary jobs. The largest beneficiary sectors in Erongo have been construction with approvals of N$848.4 million, electricity and water with N$454.57 million, real estate and business services with N$194.73 million and manufacturing with N$116.33 million.
Mutumba concludes by reiterating his invitation to local authorities and enterprises to visit the Erongo Business and Tourism Expo. The Bank opens doors to enterprise and infrastructure finance, and the Expo is one such door.