NCRST give grants to young innovators

WINDHOEK: The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) handed over grants to 11 Young Innovators worth N. dollars 5.5 million, in the capital last night.

The innovators received those grants after they responded to the fourth National Call for Youth Innovators which focused on two research areas namely the manufacturing technologies and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

These areas have been identified as priority technology enablers in the National Programme for research, science technology and innovation for 2014/15 to 2016/17.

Handing over the grants, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eino Mvula said: " We are happy that our young people have taken advantage of this opportunities to unleash their creative potential in devising conceptual solutions to the challenges facing our society."

He noted that innovative thinking and solutions need to be confined to scientists, or be about cutting-edge technology or rocket science saying that simple innovations and small improvements can sometimes make a bigger impact as they can be widely applied to enhance the quality of the daily life.

Mvula stressed that the NCRST also recognized the challenges that some of the innovators might face and are working on modalities to support them through mentorship.

For this reason, he said the NCRST has concluded an agreement with a team of experts specializing in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) mentoring, coaching and business development services to provide business development and management training to youth innovators.

He noted that the support will focus on developing training manuals and training materials to be used during the training sessions for youth innovators, undertaking a business training workshop, providing advisory services to improve existing business plans, ideas and products while providing monitoring and evaluation services during the first three months of implementation of business activities by the youth innovators.

The 11 young innovators include, Freeman Ngulu who owns Cuvelai Media, Lameck Amugongo with Open Data Portal for Namibia, Sandra Mwiihangele with KiyomiSandz Beauty Products, Homateni Kapewangolo with Pula24 and Ndeshipewa Hamatui with NSVP Scientific.

Other young innovators are Gabriel Ikena with TicketBooth Namibia, Nabot Natanael with SaveMyCity, Aron Hamukwaya with Owela Game, Desire Gaoas with Eco Climate Smart Education Advancers, Christy Shakuyungwa with Lipitua Linen and Aska Orlale with M&O Decor.

Speaking to Nampa, Christy Shakuyungwa who specializes in traditional dolls and cotton bed linen for hotels and lodges, said she wants to use the grant to grow and expand her business locally by becoming the main supplier of bed linen to all the hotels and lodges in the country.

With her dolls, Shakuyungwa currently imports the black dolls from South Africa (SA), which she said is very costly and is looking into other opportunities through which she could purchase them on a cheaper price.

Currently, Taati, the doll is dressed in Oshiwambo traditional dress.

SOURCE: THE NIMIBIA PRESS NEWS AGENCY