Innovation Hub, FNBB Create Funding Opportunities

Creative minds: Some of the participants at the Pitch Day PIC: BDIH
Creative minds: Some of the participants at the Pitch Day PIC: BDIH

To develop and support homegrown innovative solutions, Botswana Digital and Innovation Hub (BDIH) has affiliated with the First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) Foundation to create funding opportunities.

The objective of the joint initiative is to back eligible entities that are often excluded by limitations of existing structures and to encourage the participation of start-ups in solving challenges COVID-19 brought. The initiative also aims to boost the private sector’s role in economic recovery.

About 11 innovative companies were selected to participate in a Pitch Day that was adjudicated by a panel of experts in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Three winners were awarded prize money totalling P400,000.

The acting BDIH chief executive officer (CEO) Tshepo Tsheko, acknowledged that innovation is a critical catalyst in driving Botswana’s Transformation Agenda, hence, supporting innovations requires collaborations between diverse stakeholders.

"We are glad to have partnered with FNBB Foundation as a notable player in the national innovation ecosystem to support innovators with funding and market access opportunities," he said. FNBB deputy director of Marketing and Communications, Peo Porogo said, initiatives like these give entrepreneurs renewed hope as they strive to turn their ideas and businesses into successful entities.

Scooping a whooping P250,000 first prize under the Existing Business category was Organic Naturals Skincare. Organic Naturals manufactures organic, toxic-free skincare products using indigenous plants and oils found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The products range from beauty, cosmetics to personal care.

The P100,000 second prize went to Angular Creatives Labs. Angular Creatives is a digital marketing and advertising company that has developed a solution called Mohiri. Mohiri is a personalised job alerts service that connects low-medium skilled workers to opportunities for work by sending them alerts on their phones whenever there is a vacancy that matches their profile. Mohiri sends out job alerts to a pool of registered members who depend on the application as a source of vacancy announcements and other career-related opportunities and content.

Under the Startups with Prototype category, Doctors E-Consult won the P50,000 prize money. Doctor E-Consult developed an online doctor consultation mobile application, which is a doctor-patient consulting room on a phone or device. The online doctor consultation aims to reduce congestion in medical facilities and allow for effective social distancing. Beyond COVID-19, the app will reduce the burden of travelling to access a doctor. Doctors E-Consult takes convenience and confidentiality to a whole new level as it is easily accessed within the comfort of one’s home.

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