We are left out: Northern based SMEs lament

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

NORTHERN based Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) say they feel left out when it comes to access to information as most interventions are provided to SMEs in Windhoek and do not reach the Northern parts of the country.

This was revealed at two Bank Windhoek SMEs information sessions held in Ondangwa and Oshakati in collaboration with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Office.

Northern based SME owners advocated for access to finance to grow their businesses, mentoring and coaching on the various aspects of a business and most importantly to engage with bank staff that know and understand their business.

Bank Windhoek’s Manager of Emerging SMEs, Jenevieve Swartz, said that the aim of these sessions was to actively engage the SMEs through information sharing and by providing a platform to the SMEs for sharing their challenges and identifying opportunities that they are faced whilst running successful businesses.

Swartz, stressed the importance of regular engagements with the SMEs to understand their expectations and aspirations better and to provide them with tailor-made solutions for their unique business ventures.

“As connectors of positive change, our ambitions are to present these sessions across all 14 regions, where possible, to ensure that access to information is available to all. We value our clients and prospective clients, and we want to reinforce that relationship by reaching out through these sessions,” she said.

The Ondangwa session saw 26 entrepreneurs attend, while the Oshakati session hosted 42 entrepreneurs.

The Bank’s SME team was joined by the Ondangwa and Oshakati Branch staff, who presented the Bank’s products and services.

Seasoned businesswoman and NCCI Exco member, Amalia Schmidt thanked and commended attendees for standing firm during the most challenging times that SMEs faced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the attendees, Shatona Tuyenikelao, an SME business owner in Oshakati, expressed her sincere gratitude to Bank Windhoek for the engaging session and encouraged more future engagements.

As part of the Bank’s strategic partnerships, the Namibia Investment Promotion Development Board (NIPDB) Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) Business Advisory Services unit accompanied the team in both sessions.

NIPDB provided an insightful presentation on the mandate of the MSME unit and the various initiatives they are currently driving in Namibia.

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