Bank Windhoek’s Business Banking is committed to proactively engaging with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through information-sharing sessions demonstrating the Bank’s commitment to economic growth and stability. Bank Windhoek’s Manager of Emerging SME, Jenevieve Swartz, made this statement during the Bank’s SME information Session hosted in Windhoek on Friday, 23 June 2023. This session was a follow-up to the first-ever Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Finance Symposium that took in Windhoek on Friday, 21 April 2023, a collaboration between Bank Windhoek and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB).
More than 20 entrepreneurs with formally registered businesses and actively operating for at least six months attended the session. They represented various sectors: education, beauty, retail, renewable energy, and telecommunications. Swartz said that the sessions aim to engage with the SMEs to better understand the challenges they face and how the Bank could assist in addressing these challenges.
The session was also attended by representatives from the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), who presented and informed the attendees on the functions of BIPA, including the processes and requirements for registering various entities. BIPA’s Manager of Marketing and Corporate Communication, Shariva Zender, said she was delighted to have the opportunity to empower the MSME sector with the much-needed resources required to succeed.
Bank Windhoek’s Business Banking I-Lounge Team presented the various bank products, including lending and transactional, available to SMEs and highlighted the Banks’ lending criteria. “As Connectors of Positive Change, we want to journey with each SME that has a relationship with the Bank. The goal is to get them to a point where they can access the Bank’s lending products, enabling them to grow their businesses sustainably,” said Swartz, who highlighted that financial institutions like Bank Windhoek are highly regulated organisations, entrusted to safeguard depositor’s funds, and always ensuring prudent lending.
Bank Windhoek’s Sustainable Finance and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Analyst, Joachim Komeheke, addressed the attendees on the Bank Windhoek Sustainability Loan offering, touching on the features and benefits of the product, which aims to support individuals and Small-Medium Enterprises to achieve their sustainable ambitions. The Loan ensures that Namibians can tap into funding earmarked explicitly for sustainable projects with environmental and social benefits.
Two well-established SMEs, Nel’s Babies & Kiddies and Ilotu Investments, shared words of encouragement with the attendees. They provided the attendees with a raw and unfiltered version of what it takes to run a successful business. They shared their real-life challenges and successes, encouraging their fellow SMEs to persist in their pursuit of being successful entrepreneurs, albeit with limited resources.
“It was important for us to convey the message that the SMEs should realise that there is great power in starting small, with the resources that they have available,” concluded Swartz. The entrepreneurs were thankful for the engagement session and encouraged the Bank to host more such gatherings.
The next Bank Windhoek SME information session will take place on Wednesday, 26 and Thursday, 27 July 2023, in Oshakati and Ondangwa, respectively.