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Local innovation needs local investment

Local innovation needs local investment

Niël Terblanché
NAMIBIAN inventors and the use technology developed locally that provide solutions need the help of the private sector to turn well laid plans into tangible products and services that would benefit all.
The recently concluded Technology Innovation Bazaar has successfully connected a number of local inventors with supporters who have pledged to invest in their inventions.

Pictured: Berhane Wheeler, a Grade 9 learner from Windhoek, was the most successful pitcher in the Dragon’s Den organised as part of the Technology Innovation Bazaar. Photo: Contributed

“This kind of collaboration is crucial for Namibia. There are so many great ideas, which have a real potential but need support to be able to break through to the market,” emphasized Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus of the Namibian University of Science and Technology’s Faculty of Computing and Informatics.
“We strongly believe local technology innovation has much to give to the nation,” said Dr Licky Erastus, MTC’s Chief Technology Officer.
Prof. Winschiers-Theophilus encouraged all companies to contact the Tech Hub to hear how they can support local inventors and use local technology solutions to improve products and services. He invited others to follow MTC’s lead in contributing to events such as the Technology Innovation Bazaar.

“Many have already done so. A day after the Bazaar, companies who attended the event emailed us to request contacts for the inventors who pitched in our Dragon’s Den and Pitch Auction. We were delighted to hear from those who at the moment cannot commit financial resources, but were willing to lend their support in other ways,” Winschiers-Theophilus said.

Pictured: MTC’s Jonas Ngololo, Manager of Data and VA services with Tech Hub’s Mark Mushiva and young inventors from PAY Namibia and EstApp. Photo: Contributed

The invention that won the most monetary prizes at the Bazaar – a total of N$18 000 – was The Lab, an educational mobile app and game developed by a grade 9 learner Berhane Wheeler. The app helps learners excel in scientific experiments regardless the state of the science lab in their school. It was closely followed by SmartHire, a mobile app that will connect employers to reliable short-term labor affiliated to the NGO Men on The Side of the Road, also known as MSR, and Owela – a digital version of one of Africa’s most beloved games.
Other successful pitchers included EasySHOP, a mobile platform that connects retailers and shoppers; Lucky – a software tool for preventing cyber-attacks and other security threats; EstApp, a rental app; Lighting Namibia, a dual-axis affordable solar lighting solution; a sensor-based noise pollution detection system by P.A.Y. Namibia; Dial-a-Technician gig work platform; and Spin Da Bottle, a collaborative learning game.

Pictured: In the Dragon’s Den, Berhane Wheeler pitched successfully to Ludwig Tjitandi from MTC, Victor Ashikoto from the Tech Innovation Hub, Marian Akwenye from Nomad Holdings, and Elsa de Jager from Cornastone. Photo: Contributed

The Technology Innovation Bazaar attracted more than 300 participants for two days of exhibitions, research briefs, competitions, and interactive workshops. The Bazaar inventions were identified through an open public call, which ran from 8 April to 11 May 2019.

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