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.