SME Aisle logo.

SME Aisle

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!​

Upcoming events and latest news

SME Aisle ePlatform offers relevant country information for you and your company

On this platform you may find relevant country information from Southern African countries (Namibia, South Africa, Zambia). Relevant country information from Central Baltic countries (Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia). Relevant country information in themes of energy, maritime and logistics, automation, ICT and business entry-modes.

The ePlatform will be developed in Spring 2022. Stay tuned!

SME Aisle Final seminar on 26.4.2022 online

The SME Aisle project “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” (2018-2022) is approaching to its end. Join us for the SME Aisle Final online seminar on 26th of April 2022 from 9.30-16.00 Finnish time (UTC +3). See the programme here

SME Aisle success stories

Joint ventures of StandByMate/Nordcrewing Group OÜ in Southern Africa

Representatives of Satakunta university of applied sciences and Nordcrewing at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa.In Namibia a joint venture was set up and the company is currently moving towards recruiting German-speaking workers from Namibia, due to a demand from a major German customer.

The company Nordcrewing was established on November 2018. The idea of starting a recruitment company began with the startup company called StandByMate. StandbyMate was an online recruitment platform, moreover an online version of the current recruitment company Nordcrewing.

Read the success story here.

Environmentally friendly innovative solutions for agriculture

Representatives of company called Biosorbio  at the Agritech Expo 2019 in Zambia.

“The SME Aisle project has helped us in identifying suitable partners and has met our expectations”, states the Managing Director of BioSorbio Ltd. Jukka Lunden.

BioSorbio Ltd. is a Finnish company specialized in eco-friendly solutions in agriculture, soil and water remediation. The company joined the SME Aisle project in 2019.

BioSorbio’s products have raised interest for example in Zambia, where the company recently established a joint venture named BioRaiser Zambia Ltd.

Read the success story here.

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

Representatives of Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Aion Sigma company and Walvis Bay Corridor Group in Zambia, Autumn 2019.

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.

Publications and posts


Sustainable business in the markets of southern Africa

Members of the SME Aisle project having a meeting in Namibia in Autumn 2019.

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

Blog posts

We research: Exports to Southern Africa

There is a growing demand for the products and services of the maritime cluster in the markets of Southern Africa. In the future, Southern Africa will be the target of increasing investments.  Located on the southern coast of the Atlantic, Namibia is categorized as a gateway to Southern Africa by sea and road.

Read more from Maritime Logistics Reasearch Center’s website 



Technical and operational insights for businesses entering Namibian markets


This report describes some specific technical and operational requirements necessary to take into consideration when planning a business venture in the Southern African markets. In this report, Namibia is used as an example.

Take a look of our publication (open access):

More news

H.E. Vice-President Dr. Nangolo Mbumba and Captain Heikki Koivisto from the SME Aisle project.

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.

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

More blog posts

The SME Aisle project held a webinar on business between Namibia and the Central Baltic area on 26 May 2021. The webinar brought together various actors representatives from Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Namibia. Read the blog post (

SME Aisle Namibian Business delegation dinner at the ambassador HE George Liswaniso’s residence.

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.

Project SME Aisle organized its second business delegation trip for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in April 2019.

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

Rapid Urbanization and Infrastructure Pressure: Comparing the Sustainability Transition Potential of Water and Energy Regimes in Namibia.

The article presents a comparative study of the urban water and energy sectors in the coastal city of Walvis Bay in Namibia. Writers include experts from SME Aisle.

Read the paper (open access) from Wolrd 2020:

Feasibility study on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and on the resources required in the Southern African  markets. Check our publication: (open access).

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

NEW! SME Aisle Online communication in Central Baltic and Southern Africa

Differences and practices of online communication between the Central Baltic and Southern Africa. Video available on Youtube


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 logo.

 Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Prizztech logo.


The Latvian chamber of commerce and industry logo.

 The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

MASOC logo.

 Association of Mechanical Engineering and   Metalworking Industries of Latvia

Logo of Taltech.

Estonian Maritime Academy of Tallinn University of Technology

SME Aisle on social media

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Past events

Namibia is known for its abundant renewable energy sources like solar, wind, wave and biomass.  Within the next 10 years, technologies like wind, solar hydro and biomass could become economically viable without any subsidies in the country. This creates excellent export opportunities for Central Baltic SMEs. Join us in a free webinar to hear more! Link to the program

Save the date for a forthcoming on-line workshop on Wed. 8.12.2021 at 14.00 – 16.00 Finnish time. The goal of the event is to offer insights of Namibian maritime sector.
Andre Snyman, Managing Director of Walvis Bay Salt will communicate their needs on energy efficiency. Captain Heikki Koivisto will share insights on digitalization and more efficient operations via Port Activity Application case. There will also be a facilitated panel discussion, led by SME Aisle project leader Minna Keinänen-Toivola. 
Video available on Youtube
In this online workshop we will discuss about current business ventures between Namibia and Central Baltic area (Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia) in changed circumstances.
Date & time: 26th May at 15-17 (UTC +3)
Take a look of the program: Workshop program (pdf).
webinar program.

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

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)


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

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:

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 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: 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