A senior associate at Business Financial Solutions, Hafeni Hamukoto, has emphasised the need to increase investment in African start-ups that provide unique solutions to challenges.

Some owners of startups say they have experienced difficulties accessing funding and other types of support to realise their dreams. Business Financial Solutions decided to invest in Namibia's first TEA metallurgical lab at Swakopmund, which needed massive funding in 2019.

Hamukoto says he was impressed with TEA Labs mainly because the idea provides a solution to the mining sector players, who send their samples to South Africa for analysis due to a lack of infrastructure.

"We have so many mines and mining industries; mining is one of the biggest contributors to GDP. And yet all these guys are sending things abroad to Africa and other countries. How come this was never done before? I look at the concept and it makes sense, but why hasn't it been done before? You know there was no answer. Our investment in start-ups or venture capital is very low because people don't believe that Africans can actually do something unique. We are seen as a country where, really, if it's agriculture, then yes, but things like TEA Labs and scientific projects, you hardly see things funded in Africa. So I hope the Tea Lab team looks at this, as you are not only representing yourselves."

Hamukoto believes young Africans are capable of providing solutions to problems if they are given the right support. TEA Lab co-owner Wensia Ruiters described the realisation of their dream as a miracle.

It was a faith project that we initially embarked on. And I say faith and hope because when you start the entrepreneurial journey, it is nothing glamorous. There are a lot of doors and hoops that you have to jump through. And what has helped us is having the immense support of the people who believed in our journey and believed in the cause that we have basically birthed here."



Renathe Rengura