Article by: Business Express

EMPRETEC Namibia which first trained entrepreneurs on 16 October 2019 has now trained close to 2000 entrepreneurs of which about 30% were vulnerable categories, Minister of Industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu has said.

EMPRETEC Namibia, is a collaboration between the Ministry and UNDP Namibia with the aim to train MSMEs and larger enterprises into appropriate entrepreneurial behaviour to ensure that they can create sustainable business going forward.

EMPRETEC Namibia was approved by Cabinet in 2019 and has been in operation ever since although Covid-19 affected the work programme majorly.

“During 2022, such trainings were conducted in all 14 regions and thereby benefiting 228 MSMEs while in 2023, the Ministry through EMPRETEC trained 1400 MSMEs. This intervention was delivered by our trained 25 business mentors and coaches consisting of half Ministerial regional staff and the rest from the Private Sector and Academia,” said Iipumbu. Iipumbu was speaking at the occasion of the 2024 launching of EMPRETEC trainings.

“Today’s training is a rollout of the much-vaunted Entrepreneurship Training Workshop (ETW) which is the standard training provided globally. Along with our partner-EMPRETEC Ghana, we aim to ensure that we complete needed trainings to train up to 180 trainees. We also aim to work with both UNDP and UNCTAD to ensure that EMPRETEC Namibia is certified as a global centre by end of this year. In addition, we aim to create a pool of train of trainers who will become the resource of Namibian trainers to carry these trainings themselves. Further, on we are working with Ministry of Higher Education and its agencies to initiate work to accredit our trainings,” said Iipumbu.

Iipumbu also noted that the ministry’s mandate traces its roots from the then 1997 SME National Policy and extended through the 2016 MSME National Policy were various support programmes have been facilitated by the Ministry of industrialisation and Trade to support the MSMEs both in the formal and informal sector.

Notable of these are the Equipment Aid Scheme, Business Infrastructure Support Programme (Sites and Premises to house SMEs at up to 30% off market discount rates), Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme (IUMP) as well as SDG Impact Facility and EMPRETEC NAMIBIA (which provides entrepreneurial training).

“The IUMP was established as a national extension of the sub-regional IUMP for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with the objectives to; improve the competitiveness of local industries; contribute to the strengthening of industrial capacities of Namibian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs); diversify national value-addition; enhance capacities for job creation; support efforts that reduce poverty and to achieve long-term presence in the international marketplace. “The programme provides targeted support to MSMEs in areas such as supply and value chain and product and market development, standards and quality conformity, among others. Since inception in 2012, we have supported more than 150 MSMEs in various sectors such as fish and food processing, agro – processing and value-added bush products,” she added.

The Ministry through its Equipment Aid Scheme provides assistance in the form of equipment and other technology as per requirement to SMEs in order for them to effectively run their business and subsequently create employment.

“MIT has thus far reviewed the implementation of this programme to ensure that it speaks to the current realities while ensuring that the monitoring and implementation component is strengthen. There was an impasse on funding through the EAS since 2016, however we have revived it 2023 with successful beneficiaries expected to be announced during March/April 2024.”

“The SDG Impact Facility is a collaboration with UNDP Namibia and Standard Bank Namibia as well as the Environmental Investment Fund. The aim is to support and fund sustainable social enterprises as access to finance continue to hamper our efforts at business development. So far, since 2021 we have funded over 95 enterprises under this facility and aim to grow the fund into an endowment fund with other interested partners. We have now finalised a new design, which was reviewed by stakeholders late last year.”

She went on to say that Charcoal trainings for MSMEs are key in the development of the Charcoal value chain. Thus the series of training on sustainable charcoal production aimed at enhancing human capacity development by empowering MSMEs with new skills and technology, and equipment utilization through practical sessions on sustainable charcoal production. So far, 40 MSMEs has received training in the charcoal value chain.

“Another intervention is the Gemstone cutting and polishing Trainings, a considerable number of about 300 youths are so far trained under this programme at our centre in Karibib with at least 90% of this group having found employment in the diamond polishing and cutting sector. The 2023 cohort has just graduated and out of 24 graduates we can report that 22 are about to start their employment within the diamond cutting and polishing sector. We are about to advertise for the 2024 cohort to apply.

“The Start-up Namibia programme is another key intervention to ensure that we promote and develop our Namibian start-ups. The Ministry is at advanced stage of integrating this programme within the EMPRETEC Namibia setup. The ultimate aim is to incubate our StartUps until they reach a self-sustenance level. Later this year we will launch StartUp Namibia at our facility LaFranz Industrial area in Windhoek,” further stated Iipumbu.

Business Express is a Namibian quality journalism operation aimed at giving consumers cutting-edge content with primary focus on the business and economic sectors.

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2024-03-11T11:01:50+00:00 March 11th, 2024|NEWS|