The Ampion bus crew was hosted by the Poly’s FabLab Namibia, an advanced manufacturing, prototyping and design laboratory.
The Ampion Venture Bus programme entails four buses with over 200 entrepreneurs and their mentors, touring the continent. The topics covered on the buses range from e-health to hardware and agriculture, depending on what is applicable to a specific region. Computer hardware and agriculture were selected for the Southern African tour. Ampion scouts talented individuals who strive to enhance their skills, grow their international network of entrepreneurs, business partners and investors and are determined to build a new company.
FabLab used the opportunity prior to the bus trip to host a Mini-Maker Fair where NUST students and members of the public showcased their inventions and innovations, creating an ideal networking platform for the group.
The participants include students in various programmes such as Psychology and Environmental Studies, but who all have a passion for business.
Craig Dube is a 22-year old Psychology student at the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe and part of a start-up that promotes companies via the Internet. He said: “At this point in time, I am not too focused on the financial benefits that can be presented by this opportunity, but more on the knowledge I am going to walk away with.”
The co-founder of Ampion, Iteanyi Oteh, also speaking at the Mini-Maker Fair in Windhoek, said: “We need viable solutions to relevant problems. If you invent a spaceship and no one wants to go to space, it means you need to find another idea, a practical one.”
From Windhoek, the entrepreneurs travelled to Botswana, then South Africa, making stops in various cities for networking purposes. During the trip, the participants were expected to come up with innovative business ideas which would eventually be pitched to potential investors at their final destination in Cape Town.
NUST is keen to create a platform where students can transform innovative business ideas into tangible products, and centres such as FabLab Namibia are at the forefront of this drive.