The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Namibia as the main sponsor, launched the inaugural Know2Grow NextGen Entrepreneurs fair in Swakopmund this week.
The Swakopmund Municipality also pledged N$10,000 as the host town.
The fair is an annual market access and capacity building platform designed to drive the development and acceleration of innovative businesses by young entrepreneurs. The showcase provides a platform for business owners to present their products and services, engage with subject matter experts, and benefit from the numerous business development support systems within the medium to small enterprise ecosystem.
The event is scheduled to take place in Swakopmund from 2 to 4 November 2023.
Governor of the Erongo Region Neville Andre said the sponsorship by CCBA represented a partnership built on shared values and a belief in the potential of local talent.
“Today, we celebrate not only our entrepreneurial spirit but also the invaluable support extended to us by our sponsors, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Namibia, a global brand recognised for its unwavering dedication to youth development and empowerment.”
Swakopmund Mayor Dina Namubes said the showcase represented a pivotal moment for youth and women entrepreneurs, who had been disproportionately affected by unemployment.
“We understand the challenges they face and the immense potential they hold. It is our responsibility as a community to provide them with the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary to thrive and contribute to our economy.”
Dino Ballotti, Executive Director of MSME Development, Innovation & Acceleration, at the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, said entrepreneurship was a remarkable path that required a unique blend of passion, resilience, and a thirst for knowledge.
“Our country’s youth possess the spark of innovativeness and the will to do great things, not only for Namibia but the world. I am personally excited about the future of Namibia, where entrepreneur by entrepreneur, we shall create the Namibia we all wish to see.”
Enid Johr, CCBA in Namibia Director of Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, said the company was a proud industry leader in developing increasingly sustainable ways to manufacture, distribute and sell its products.
“We use our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the world and to build a more sustainable future for our planet.
“Our aim is to create greater shared opportunity for the business and the communities we serve across the value-chain. Opportunity is more than just money, it’s about a better future for people and their communities everywhere on the African continent,” said Johr.
CCBA has adopted two pillars to underpin the framework of its economic inclusion strategy, namely employability and entrepreneurship.
“Our aim is to boost income, provide sustainable earning potential and improve skills and business knowledge for women, youth and people with disabilities, resulting in them accessing better opportunities,” said Johr.
“Our entrepreneurship programmes focus on initiatives that provide our target groups with the opportunity to take an existing business to a higher level of operation. Our employability programmes focus on programmes that up-skill, re-skill or provide other opportunities that enhance our target group’s prospects of finding sustainable employment.
“The success of these programmes will be defined by the extent to which we boost income, unlock sustainable earning potential, improve skills, and business knowledge for our target groups, resulting in access to economic opportunities.
“Whether donating money, our time or our expertise, we take our responsibility to the communities we call home seriously,” Johr said.