WINDHOEK - The just ended seventh Namibia SME Expo saw two major commercial banks jostling for the spotlight as each tried to sell itself as the best among the 80 small and medium size enterprises that attended the expo.
The SME Expo, organised by SME Compete, is an annual platform for small and medium size enterprises countrywide to showcase their products and services and to demonstrate to leaders and decision-makers in Namibia how competitive the SME sector has become.
The expo also provided commercial banks an ideal marketing opportunity to tap into the SME financing sector.
“Over the years our support and dedication towards this sector have grown and we are extremely proud of this as it has assisted in numerous SME’s getting off the ground and becoming successful businesses.
“You can also look at it as a platform for organisations providing capacity-building support to SME’s to introduce the services that they offer,” said the head of FNB Namibia’s SME division, Robert Eiman.
Marlize Horn, the executive officer for marketing and corporate communication services at Bank Windhoek, said the bank is committed to continue to seek more partnerships that benefit the SME sector.
“At Bank Windhoek we do not only provide loans to SMEs, but also much needed mentorship. This mentorship provided to our clients is facilitated on our behalf by Business Financial Solutions and remains an important component of our post-loan assistance. It is proof of Bank Windhoek’s commitment to ensure entrepreneurs will be successful in their respective businesses,” said Horn.
The expo took place in Windhoek between August 01 and 03 with more than 80 entrepreneurs from all over the country gathering for the event. Besides the exhibition, the event also incorporated lectures and focused workshops on issues confronting small and medium size businesses.
FNB Namibia says over the last four years it has provided start-up and expansion capital to over 700 SMEs with total loan value running into tens of millions of dollars.
“While there is always room for improvement, this proves that our SME strategy to assist SMEs with credit and banking products, linked to training and the requisite skills development, is bearing great results as demonstrated by the number of SMEs that remain in business, thereby creating wealth and much needed jobs,” said Eiman.
FNB Namibia in partnership with SME Compete will continue to provide much needed support by improving the managerial and technical capacity of SMEs through training and mentorship programmes.
Bank Windhoek has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Business Financial Solutions, the German Development Agency in Namibia on behalf of the German Government and the Global Compact Network Namibia for a study on the SME sector.
It will be an in-depth market analysis on the need and relevance of private equity to SME’s and an investigation into the economic viability of private equity vehicles in Namibia.
The study will also investigate the relevance for supporting SME’s to access equity capital.
Bank Windhoek says currently its loan portfolio has funded businesses in the Khomas, Erongo, Omusati, Oshikoto, Oshana and Otjozondjupa regions, with more than 80 percent of the SME loans going to previously disadvantaged Namibians, with a strong focus on support to female entrepreneurs.