By Business Reporter
THE Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) has launched its Good Business Awards (GBA) and Innovation Awards for 2016. The winners of the GBA will be drawn from the bank’s pool of borrowers, to highlight beneficial development impacts of enterprise, as well as excellent business practices.
The Innovation Award seeks out notable proposals for innovative products and practices, and supports the winner with grant finance of up to N$250 000 for the project that a panel of independent judges deems the most innovative.
In 2015, the winning entry was a proposal for a mobile mammography unit, initiated by Medi-Rad. The proposal targeted women in rural areas who had difficulty travelling to centralised mammography units in northern Namibia. Certificates of merit were also awarded to two plans to process Namibian foodstuffs. Talking about the 2015 Award, Isdor Murunga of Medi-Rad said the award assisted him to ramp up Medi-Rad’s operations, and grow the company turnover substantially. He went on to say that a portion of the award is being used to acquire the mammography machine, which will be installed in the truck.
In 2014, the winning entry was Eenda-Nawa, a proposal for life insurance during trips on Namibia’s roads, obtained by sending an SMS.
Talking about the 2016 Innovation Award, DBN senior communications manager, Jerome Mutumba, says that the 2016 Award encourages entries in the fields of manufacturing, transport and logistics, and tourism. Mutumba elaborates by saying that proposals should give the competitive edge to business or industrial processes. Among the factors that the panel of independent judges will consider, he says that merit will be given to use of cutting edge technology and adding value to Namibian resources.
He also says that DBN seeks to use the award to address current issues, particularly provision of serviced land and housing, generation of power or provision of water. Other factors that will be considered, he says, are ease and speed of implementation, and whether the proposal can form the basis of a franchise.
Talking about the value of innovation in Namibia, Mutumba says that in order for Namibia to bolster its degree of economic competitiveness, the country needs to examine means to reduce costs and / or add value in a uniquely Namibian manner. This, he says, will also lead to improvements in operational systems that are adopted from other countries, but that don’t consider unique Namibian advantages and challenges. The closing date for proposals is August 19, and entries and enquiries should be addressed to ekaveterua@dbn. com.na
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