Through its Social Investment Fund, Bank Windhoek, collaborated with the Twapewa Kadhikwa Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Development to support three entrepreneurs towards certification in SME Development, facilitated by the African Leadership Institute (ALI).
The Twapewa Kadhikwa Institute of Entrepreneurship and SME Development aims to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills needed for business success.
Having completed the first training phase in November 2020, entrepreneurs participated in a four-day second phase training, which took place in Okahandja from Monday, 1 March, until Thursday, 4 March 2021. The ALI entrepreneurship course covers fundamental business finance, introduction to entrepreneurship, business ethics, and marketing. The final session will take in June 2021.
Despite having different backgrounds, businesses, and experiences, attendees had one shared vision: expanding their skills and knowledge and better managing their small businesses.
Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Social Investment, Sponsorship, and Events, Bronwyn Moody, said that SMEs contribute effectively to the Namibian economy, promote social change, and drive innovation. “This is why Bank Windhoek believes in supporting consumer education and SME development, in helping expand the skillset of business people," she said.
The participants' overview
Initially from Karasburg and currently based in Windhoek, Theuhill Veldschoen turned his passion for recycling into a business. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Waste Management Solutions, a company that works to collect and divert waste responsibly, promoting zero waste under the 'Recycle and be Rewarded Project'. Sharing his experience, Veldschoen said that his interest in applying for the entrepreneurship course focuses on hard and soft skills, as it underscores personal and emotional development. “Soft skills are needed in small and growing businesses, to help entrepreneurs, especially those new in leading roles, to become better at people management and building relationships," said Veldschoen.
Ernest Hamufungu added that soft skills are needed in businesses, even when it comes to networking, which he believes contributes to his natural honey business' success.
In 2015, Zakiyere Mbambi opened a security service company in Nkurenkuru, the Kavango West Region's capital. He was employed in the same field as a security guard, where he gained extensive experience before taking the entrepreneurship route. With the devastating effects of COVID-19, Mbambi's business was challenged, as some companies where he provided his services closed or reduced their operating hours. Mbambi believes that with the knowledge gained from the course, he will remain relevant and innovate excellent service delivery.
Since 2019, in partnership with the Twapewa Kadhikwa Institute of Entrepreneurship and SME Development, ALI has been collaborating to respond to Namibia's high unemployment rate to cultivate and nurture a more robust culture of entrepreneurship in Namibia, with applicants sourced through the National Youth Council.