A record over 218 youths attended the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC) Youth Speak Forum here on Friday, April 29. The Youth Speak Forum (YSF) was held in partnership with Bank Windhoek under the theme ‘Promoting sustainable entrepreneurship: How youth entrepreneurship can drive economic development and support SMEs to grow’. Presidential adviser on youth matters and enterprise development Daisry Mathias delivered a powerful keynote speech in which she fleshed out the Harambee Prosperity Plan and how its goals will be achieved. “Harambee is a matter of realising potential and making progress. It further entails the question of dignity and self-reliance. It’s about creating opportunities that will empower individuals and communities. Each job means pulling a family out of poverty, a wider tax revenue base for government, and greater social stability,” Mathias said. “We want to see an industrialised and productive Namibia. We need to produce opportunities through entrepreneurship,” Mathias said to a packed venue. “Government alone cannot create all required jobs. Entrepreneurship is the expression of Namibian solutions to Namibian problems,” Mathias said.
During a panel discussion, in which Bank Windhoek’s ESME branch manager Mbo Luvindao participated, panellists gave their perspectives on sustainable entrepreneurship. Panellists gave meaningful input – either as experienced entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs – supporting entrepreneurship as an NGO, as a bank and as a policy writer from government side. The panellists agreed that opportunities, support and knowledge are available in a modern Namibia. Young people just have to go after the information, read about the supporting programmes and bring their passion and ambition with them, the YSF panellists concluded. The discussion was followed by workshops aimed at informing and up-skilling entrepreneurial youth.
Luvindao showed delegates how SME financing works and how to obtain loans. He further focussed on how to develop a business plan. By way of a case study Luvindao illustrated the importance of each step that needs to be taken in obtaining finance.
“The attendance exceeded our expectations, with youths aged between 17 and 31 years old attending from across Namibia. The YSF was part of National Youth Week and we are delighted by the knowledge shared,” said the president of AIESEC Namibia, Tobias Mészáros. “This year has been an all-time success for us and we’re honoured to share this success with Bank Windhoek as one of our main partners,” he said. “Bank Windhoek believes in the future of the Namibian youth and their growth as entrepreneurs. By partnering with AIESEC Namibia, the bank shows its commitment in achieving national developmental goals. We look forward in partnering again for such an honourable cause,” said André le Roux, communication practitioner at Bank Windhoek.