Exports of shipbuilding, maritime and logistics, renewable energy, automation and ICT from Central Baltic to the Southern African markets using Namibia as a stable entry point.

SME Aisle supports business activities between Central Baltic SMEs and Southern African stakeholders.

And project is also much more, check the short video below!​

Success stories

Digital inclusion in Africa
– SME Aisle success story of Aion Sigma

Thanks to the SME Aisle project, we have been able to enter the market in Southern Africa” says one of the company founders Joakim Hedenstedt.

Aion Sigma joined the SME Aisle project in 2019 and has been active in project events within the ICT field. 

So far, Aion Sigma has partnered with Musanga Logistics to provide smartphones with their employees in Zambia.

Read the success story here.

Upcoming events

Due to the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the SME Aisle team has made a decision to postpone the delegation trip of Spring 2019. The updated schedule will be published on the website later this year. Stay safe!

Currently on SME Aisle


SME Aisle project met Namibian high-level delegation

The Vice President of the Republic of Namibia Dr. Nangolo Mbumba visited Finland, Estonia and Latvia in September 9–15, 2019. He was accompanied by a delegation of 30 representatives of various ministries and enterprises. SME Aisle project team members had a chance to meet the Namibian delegation. Read the article.

Blog posts

Namibian flavours and business networking

Cosy atmosphere, a sumptuous dinner and great business networking. Read more about the Namibian business delegation trip to Central Baltic on 10th of November in Stockholm. Read the blog post.


Heading for Southern Afican markets

Feasibility study on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and on the resources
required in the Southern African  markets. Check our publication: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2019120946316 (open access).

More news

Read the article about  sustainable business in the markets of Southern Africa  in English (abstract) and in Finnish (full article).

Read the news about the business trip in Southern Africa in April 2019 in English and in Finnish.

More blog posts

Project SME Aisle organized its second business delegation trip for SMEs in April 2019. During the two weeks of travelling, the team and the companies visited Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. 

Read the blog post in English and in Finnish.

Read the blog post from the Centrum Blaticm blog.

More publications

Want to know more about Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) markets? Check our publication (open access) about business environment in Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. Themes are maritime and ports, ICT, automation, renewable energy and machinery.

Project info



Total budget:

1 731 850,31 €

(ERDF: 1 358 178,06 €)

SAMK: 578 802,33 € (ERDF: 422 525,70 €)

Our objective in SME Aisle project is to support Central Baltic maritime clusters’ SMEs with an ambition and potential to enter into new markets in Southern Africa using Namibia as stable entry point. 

SME Aisle focus on companies from Central Baltic area i.e. Finland (incl. Åland), Estonia, Latvia and Sweden.

Themes are shipbuilding, maritime, renewable energy, automation and ICT.

Videos and presentations


What is SME Aisle?

See the presentation about the project SME Aisle and its partners. Check the slideshow (click to open the presentation as PDF) or click the link below.

Open the slideshow as PDF.

Click to play videos or open presentations (pdf). More videos in SME Aisle YouTube channel.


 Satakunta University of Applied Sciences


 The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

 Association of Mechanical Engineering and   Metalworking Industries of Latvia

 Tallinn University of Techonology

SME Aisle on social media

2 months ago

SME Aisle

SME Aisle success story 1: Digital inclusion in Africa – SME Aisle success story of Aion Sigma

“Thanks to the SME Aisle project, we have been able to enter the market in Southern Africa” says one of the company founders Joakim Hedenstedt, Aion Sigma - Financial and Digital Inclusion.

Read the success story here: sub.samk.fi/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Success_story_Aion-Sigma.pdf

The first SME Aisle success story is now published and we continue the success story series after the summer holidays. Have a nice summer and we'll be back in August! ☀️
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2 months ago

SME Aisle

Great discussion on entrepreneurship and businesses at panel discussion today at Ambitious Africa - Namibia National Day! 🇳🇦

Nina Savela brought up experiences from SME Aisle in cooperation between Nordics and Namibia. She also highlighted some of the steps towards successful business cooperation - how SME Aisle has successfully matched Central Baltic Programme companies and Namibian stakeholders. And the work continues! ☀️
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2 months ago

SME Aisle

Welcome to the Ambitious Africa Namibia National Day on Thursday 18th of June! 🇳🇦 Event connects entrepreneurs, policymakers and students from Namibia and Nordic countries.

Our SME Aisle expert, Nina Savela, will be discussing at Panel session: Entrepreneurship. Panel discussion will look at the following: The current state of entrepreneurship education in Namibia, in particular to those in the informal sector, as well as the impact of entrepreneurship on the unemployment rates in Namibia. In addition, the collaboration between the Nordics and Namibia will be explored.

Event will be held online 18.6. at 10-13 Namibia time (at 11-14 EEST i.e. time in Finland, Estonia and Latvia).

Join us online: namibia.dealroomevents.com/
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3 months ago

SME Aisle

New video about SME Aisle Business concept! 🎥 Short introduction on what our Central Baltic companies offer to the Southern African markets and how we, SME Aisle team, support the business activities.

SMEs from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia have wide range of expertise and our SME Aisle team is happy to help the Central Baltic SMEs and Southern African stakeholders together!


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Excellent news for the SME Aisle! Latvian @LTRK_info and Zambian Chambers of Commerce and Industry enhance economic cooperation. It will help in the cooperation in investment, trade and technology transfer between Latvia and Zambia. #CB_results #Zambia https://bit.ly/3khHj9r

“Thanks to the @SMEAisle, we have been able to enter the market in Southern Africa” says one of the @aionsigma founders Joakim Hedenstedt. The first SME Aisle #SuccessStory is now published! Read the success story: https://bit.ly/2V78tF4 #cbresults @SatakunnanAMK

Great discussion on entrepreneurship at panel discussion today at #AmbitiousAfrica - Namibia National Day! 🇳🇦 Nina Savela/SME Aisle brought up experiences in cooperation between Nordics and #Namibia and how we've matched @CentralBaltic SMEs and Namibian stakeholders. #cbresults

Event for connecting experts within #Namibia and Nordic countries, @SMEAisle participating the event and panel discussion. @CentralBaltic #cbresults @SatakunnanAMK. https://twitter.com/SMEAisle/status/1272798186864861185

Welcome to the Ambitious Africa Namibia National Day on 18.6! 🇳🇦 Event connects #entrepreneurs, #policymakers and #students from Namibia and Nordic countries. Nina Savela from SME Aisle participates to the panel discussion. Join us: https://bit.ly/2YHtOWD @Think_Africa

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Past events

Namibian delegation travels to Central Baltic area 9.-17.11.2019.

The program includes B2B meetings, site visits and events with the Embassies.

Open program in pdf https://sub.samk.fi/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/travelling-plan-SMEAisle20191011.pdf

Follow the delegation in SME Aisle social media!

Tervetuloa tapaamaan ja keskustelemaan namibialaisdelegaation kanssa businesstilaisuuteen SAMKin Merimäen auditorioon (Suojantie 2, Rauma) pe 15.11.2019 klo 13.00–14.45.

Tilaisuuden ohjelma:

13.00-13.05 Welcome and introduction,  project leader Minna Keinänen-Toivola, SAMK

13.05-13.15 SME Aisle: Promoting trade between the Finland and Namibia, captain Heikki Koivisto, SAMK

13.15-13.30 Words from Namibian delegation members

13.30-13.45 Investment plans in Logistic Hub of Namibia – Future business opportunities and projects (Maritime, ICT, Transport – road and rail ,Energy and Water, Mining) Mr. Clive Smith Walvis Bay Corridor Group

13.45-14.00 Short introduction of Finnish companies

14.00-14.45 Speed networking and negotiations between businesses

Tilaisuuden järjestävät Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulu ja Prizztech osana CB SME Aisle projektia.

Tilaisuus on ilmainen ja englanninkielinen.


Time: Monday 11 November, at 9.00-12.00 followed by a networking luncheon
Venue: World Trade Center, Klarabergsviadukten 70 Stockholm
Hosts: Business Sweden and Central Baltic SME Aisle in collaboration with the Swedish-Southern African Chamber of Commerce (SSACC)

Program: https://sub.samk.fi/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Namibia-Sweden-Seminar-in-Stockholm-11-November-2019.pdf

3rd SMEAisle Business delegation to Namibia 22.9 – 5.10.2019!

The program includes business meetings, speed networking event and site visits.

Open program in pdf https://sub.samk.fi/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SMEAisle_delegation-program-autumn-2019.pdf

Follow our business trip in SME Aisle social media!

Namibia-Sweden Business Forum in connection with the Namibia-Sweden bilateral working group in Bankhalle, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stockholm in 25.6.2019 9.00-12.00. Organized by Business Sweden in co-operation with Central Baltic SME Aisle project and others.

Registration to: https://www.business-sweden.se/en/Trade/Seminars-and-events/EventsSeminars/namibia-sweden-business-forum/

Click to open the program.


Where? Namibia, South Africa & Zambia.
When? 1st to 13th of April 2019.
Who? SME Aisle team and 31 Central Baltic SMEs from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia.

Take a look of the business delegation and check photos from our social media accounts!

Welcome to the SME Aisle workshop! 

Time: Thursday 13th of June from 13.30-15.30 at SAMK Campus Pori, Finland (also online). The workshop is organized simultaneously with the Match Industry 2019 event.

The workshop concentrates on the delegation trip in April 2019 to Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. We present some interesting and successful business cases of SMEs from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia in Southern African markets so far. We also discuss about lessons learned and the upcoming events of the project.

Where? Namibia, South Africa & Zambia.
When? 1st to 13th of April 2019.
Who? SME Aisle team and 32 Central Baltic SMEs from Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia.

Take a look from program and events our SME Aisle team organized! Detailed program for registered companies was provided separately.


The webinar is targeted to the companies who are interested in business opportunities in the Southern African markets as well as to the companies who already have registered to the business delegation of April 2019 to Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. In the webinar, we share updated information on the business delegation and on opportunities for the Central Baltic SMEs in the market.


On 15th of February 2019 at 10-12 (at 9-11 Swedish time)

Where? Online HILL room

Workshop on 23.1. in Stockholm, Sweden


Workshop about Business opportunities in Southern African markets for Swedish SMEs


Wednesday 23rd January


Business Sweden, World Trade Center, Klarabergsviadukten 70, Stockholm (metro station T-Centralen)

Workshop on 29.11. in Riga, Latvia

What? Workshop about Business opportunities in Southern African markets

When? Thursday 29th November

Where? Kipsala International Exhibition Centre, Ķīpsalas street 8, Riga, Latvia. Workshop is in room number 105 (near entrance between both halls).

Programme & registration: Check the programme (click to enlarge) and register by 26.11 to dainis.racenis@masoc.lv. Welcome!

Read more about the international trade fair from Tech Industry website.

Sambian energiasektorin liiketoimintamahdollisuudet –työpaja ti 27.11. klo 10.30-12.30 Helsingissä.

Tule kuulemaan tiistaina 27.11. klo 10.30-12.30 Sambian liiketoimintamahdollisuuksista Ulkoministeriöön (Kanavakatu 3, Helsinki).

Ilmoittautumiset ilmaiseen työpajaan ja lisätietoja: nina.savela@samk.fi ke 21.11.2018 mennessä.

Työpajassa yhteistyössä Suomen Sambian Lähetystö, NIRAS ja SME Aisle -projekti. Työpajan jälkeen on tarvittaessa mahdollisuus lyhyisiin yrityskohtaisiin tapaamisiin.

Doing business through SME Aisle: Business trip to Namibia in September-October 2018

The first SME Aisle business trip to Namibia is organized in 16.9-5.10.2018.

 SME Aisle project’s areas for business are shipbuilding, maritime and logistics, renewable energy, automation and ICT through infrastructure, shipbuilding, retrofitting, training or expert services. The business trip will consist of business to business events, site visits, seminars and a fair. Check the programme (click to enlarge).

Business seminar “Doing business through SME Aisle” was held on 25 September in Windhoek, Namibia. Seminar focuses on shipbuilding, maritime & logistics, renewable energy, ICT and automation. Check the programme (click to enlarge).

Workshop on business opportunities on markets of Southern African area was organized in Pori, Finland 13th of June (you can participate also online). All companies interested in Southern African markets are welcome! Workshop is side event of MatchINDUSTRY 2018 event. Check the workshop programme (click to enlarge).

Smart Urban Business

SME Aisle is part of the international multiscientific Smart Urban Business research work in Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland.


Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Ph.D.

+358 44 710 3063