Bank Targets SMEs

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK In realisation of the potential that Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) have in driving the economy of any given country to greater heights, the First National Bank (FNB) yesterday engaged in a financial partnership with the German Development Services (DED) to assist small businesses. Considering that SMEs do not have easy access to capital but have high growth potential, FNB Head of SMEs Ali Ipinge told New Era that the bank has established an SME Department to cater for the needs of the Namibian small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. The target market is SMEs which require funding of between N$20 000 and N$5 million. With about 50 SMEs assisted since the establishment of the department, FNB Chief Executive Officer Leonard Haynes reported that good progress has been made. He assured that the signing of an agreement would without doubt have a very positive effect on SME development. SMEs supported by FNB have, on a cost-sharing basis, access to business services such as bookkeeping, legal services, taxation services, business advice, marketing, business management training and mentorship services, Ipinge stated. The financial partnership between the two parties agrees on serious aspects of the SME unit of FNB and how it can be used to promote and advance economic growth. As one of the leading European development services for personnel cooperation, DED is active in Namibia since independence. Involved in different fields such as HIV/AIDS, protection of natural resources and promotion of the economy in general, DED Country Director Achim Mortier stated at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony yesterday that DED has long experience in working with SME and related projects in 40 developing countries worldwide. “Given these experiences, we are ready to contribute to the envisaged cooperation with FNB with a substantial financial amount as well as with personnel.” Both parties have a responsibility of contributing to the well-being of the country’s economy and in particular, the SME sector. Small businesses seeking assistance from the bank must have among other things, a ccomprehensive business plan, signed and fully completed FNB SME application forms, detailed monthly financial projections for at least 3 years, personal balance sheets of every member or shareholder, curricula vitae of each member or shareholder, details of the financial contribution by each shareholder, and any other information such as quotations, sale/lease/purchase agreements that will help understand their business.