Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in Namibia’s economy with one in five people being employed in the SME sector. Not only do SMEs contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, they also raise the standard of living of many Namibians, and in so doing, alleviates poverty. SMEs also empower women and youth within the community.
“The challenges currently being faced by the Namibian economy may cause many to react with uncertainty. Entrepreneurs, however, are those people who are skilled at adapting and being resilient in uncertain situations. It is especially during times such as these that entrepreneurs come up with new, different and innovative ideas. Regardless of current challenges, entrepreneurs with this type of mind-set will be in a better position to recession-proof their businesses and position it optimally for future success. This attitude takes a lot of character,” said Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch Manager, Mbo Luvindao.
Entrepreneurship requires initiative and taking risks, but often, the end of the journey, yields high reward. Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance Branch believes that there are Namibians who are willing to step up and be counted as contributors to the country’s economic growth. The Bank is calling on aspiring and established entrepreneurs, who meet the Bank’s lending criteria, to approach the ESME Division with their business plans and request for funding to either start their businesses or expand or diversify their existing business portfolios.
Bank Windhoek has experienced that in addition to financing, the major need of start-ups and small and medium businesses is mentoring. Mentorship guides SMEs on how to run a successful and sustainable business. Bank Windhoek’s mentorship programme is available to successful SME finance applicants. This is a ten month targeted programme directed at helping the SME build capacity by improving business management skills. The mentors focus on assisting the business to improve in areas such as bookkeeping, pricing strategies, marketing, human resources management and other practical business skills.
“Bank Windhoek’s ESME Division’s ultimate goal is to see an increased number of small and medium enterprises grow into sustainable businesses,” said Luvindao.
Often ESME financing is viewed as difficult to apply for, but with Bank Windhoek’s one-stop approach, prospective customers will not only receive the best advice on financing their businesses but also open transactional accounts with as little as N$200.
“We help entrepreneurs realise their dream of owning a business. We do this by providing financing to both start-ups and existing businesses. Bank Windhoek ESME Finance Division offers a variety of products that are tailor-made for small and medium enterprises. These products range from vehicle and asset finance to franchise finance and a variety of investment and savings accounts. We also offer Business Cheque and Transaction Accounts which satisfy the daily transaction needs of businesses while providing them with access to a Visa Debit Card, Internet Banking and possible credit facilities,” said Luvindao.