Envy Spoils Business Development

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Small and Medium businesses are primarily disadvantaged in relation to big private industries due to inadequate or non-availability of finance, lack of appropriate skills and know-how in managing and administering a commercial business, as well as outdated technologies. This was said by Eneas Emvula, chairperson of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), in an overview last week when young Namibian entrepreneurs were given business awards. The event, at which the managing director of Trustco, Quinton van Rooyen, also delivered a motivational speech, was attended by various guests. “The imbalance between SMEs and established industries can be rectified if existing and aspiring businesses in Namibia are encouraged to be creative in their efforts and, moreover, if their innovations can be rewarded and concertedly further developed,” said Eneas Emvula at the awards handing-over ceremony. According to Emvula, the JCC targets annually a capitalization sum of N$600ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 for its activities. ?It is, however, encouraging to note that over the past eight years the scheme has managed to secure an average of N$2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 per year. This covers its administration costs,? said Emvula, who informed the gathering that, since the inception of the award scheme in 2002, more than 900 entries have been received of which 130 winners have benefited from N$1,4 million. Van Rooyen delivered a powerful speedpoint-motivational speech to inspire and encourage young Namibian entrepreneurs. He was spot-on and concise in his expert assessment of the role young entrepreneurs can play regarding their own development and the broader economy. “In my opinion, an entrepreneur is a person who takes an idea or opportunity, turns it into a profitable enterprise, thus creating something from nothing, and successfully managing the risks involved therein,” said Van Rooyen. He charged that entrepreneurs operate on the edge of chaos, and he mentioned a number of truths with regard to business people who do not qualify to be called entrepreneurs. “Inheriting wealth through an unjust system, or otherwise, does not qualify anyone as an entrepreneur. Likewise, creating a product without generating wealth does not necessarily make you an inventor. Neither does a know-it-all attitude or a briefcase or a suit or a sexy, short skirt make you a true entrepreneur,” he warned. He considers entrepreneurs to be dreamers with a vision of what the future could be like. The entrepreneurs and dreamers possess the ability to practically implement their dreams. “Entrepreneurs do not procrastinate and make swift decisions ‘on the run’ – a key factor in their success. They also implement courses of action as quickly as possible with total commitment and seldom give up. Entrepreneurs are totally dedicated to their business and they work tirelessly up to 18 hours a day. They are passionate about what they do, and getting rich is not the prime motivator for entrepreneurs. Money is a measure of their success,” the Trustco managing director reiterated. He referred to the existing attitude of many Namibian entrepreneurs who qualify for what he jokingly called a Namibian PhD, meaning – in his book – ‘pull him/her down’ in business. “Real entrepreneurs do not have a Nam PhD trait, but embrace the success of fellow entrepreneurs. There needs to be greater cooperation among Namibian entrepreneurs in order to bake the national economic cake for all to compete for a greater slice,” Van Rooyen said. The winners of the awards were: Global Polymere Industries (manufacturing); Wander Zone Tours (Women in Business); GAB Capital Services (Youth); Emancipation Newspaper (first prize in the Bright Idea category); Solar Cellphone Charging (second prize in the Bright Idea category); OVC Foundation and The Loft Entertainment (first and second prizes respectively for HIV/AIDS in the workplace); Jay Jay’s Body Repairs (Service and Trade category); Wander Zone Tours the overall winner.