The COVID-19 pandemic has caused far-reaching disruption of everyday life and business. Over the past two months, many start-up enterprises were directed to close temporarily to prevent the further transmission of the virus, causing sudden and massive loss of revenue. This impact has translated into tremendous financial challenges for businesses.
Small businesses may not have the resources to weather the storm, and therefore, the COVID-19 crisis presents a structural threat to the survival of many companies and entrepreneurs. The devastating effects of the pandemic have impacted Namibian start-up enterprises and SMEs. The restriction of movement due to the national lockdown has resulted in the closure of various establishments, no walk-in customers, and the decrease in revenue.
As a relief measure to assist start-up businesses, StartUp Namibia, in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade and with funding from the German Government, designed the COVID-19 StartUp Grant Fund amounting to 3 million Namibian Dollars. Through this operational support measure, grants of NAD 15,000.00 each will be provided on a competitive basis to up to 200 selected start-up businesses, in two tranches of NAD 7,500.00 each. “The uncertainty of the impact of the Coronavirus on small business owners and start-up enterprises is staggering and likely to be substantial, and will be felt for a long time. The need is urgent, and the COVID-19 StartUp Grant intends to provide immediate relief to start-up businesses,” said Hon. Lucia Iipumbu, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade.
Eligible businesses must be registered, in operation for less than five years, and business bank account statements must show a substantial decline in revenue during the period of the lockdown or thereafter. In order to apply, businesses will need to submit the following via an online application:
- Founding Statement from BIPA
- SME Certificate
- Social Security Registration
- Bank statements for January-April 2020 of business bank account showing substantial loss of revenue during the period of the lockdown or thereafter
- Business continuity plan to detail the use of funds and strategies to save Jobs
The COVID-19 StartUp Grant will help small businesses meeting the eligibility criteria to receive a direct supplement to pay wages, fixed costs, and offset decline in revenue during the lockdown. Women-owned businesses as well as businesses from the regions are specifically encouraged to apply.
“The enthusiasm, ideas, and innovation of start-up enterprises are critical for the growth of the economy. This grant is but one important step on that long road. I call on all those who qualify and receive the grant to use it wisely,” said Ellen Gölz, Chargée d’affaires a.i. at the German Embassy.
Online applications open on 29 April 2020 until 8 May 2020. An independent committee comprising of StartUp Namibia stakeholders and partners will assess the grant applications. Grants will be awarded to applicants on a competitive basis, and the first tranche will be disbursed to awardees after 15 May 2020.
StartUp Namibia encourages all start-up businesses which meet the criteria, to visit www.startupnamibia.org today and apply for the COVID-19 StartUp Grant. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The StartUp Namibia project is a joint Namibian-German technical cooperation project for Sustainable Economic Development, funded by the German Government and implemented by GIZ together with the Namibian Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation (MIT), the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation (MHETI) and the City of Windhoek (COW).
StartUp Nambia is established in an Incubation and Innovation Center on the premises of the Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre in Windhoek and will serve four regions through mobile outreach platforms. The Centre will incubate startups and serve as a “one-stop-shop” for all needs a start-up business faces in its ideation, establishment, and growth phases.