Inspirational local entrepreneur Twapewa Kadhikwa, who recently spoke about her journey and the challenges she faces in business, did not mince her words when she said investors do not come to Namibia to steal jobs. Instead, they see opportunities that locals fail to take up.
Kadhikwa, the co-owner of several companies, including renowned Xwama Cultural Village and Traditional Restaurant, Pewa Manufacturing and Kadhikwa Chicken Farming, says entrepreneurship is in essence a solution to a problem.
Kadhikwa was the first female recipient of an Honorary Master’s degree in Business from the International University of Management (IUM) and was speaking at a public event on graduate unemployment on Tuesday, where she said some Namibians have a tendency to say investors – in particular Chinese nationals – come here to steal jobs from locals, but they are wrong because they fail to spot opportunities in their own immediate surroundings.
“Chinese people are taking over the world, because they don’t know what problems are. When our leaders go to China they say, ‘We don’t have schools, hospitals, food.’ Chinese people are just seeing opportunities, because they don’t know problems, they see it as opportunities.
“If there are too many shebeens in Havana, can’t you see that this is an opportunity to bring recreational centres and libraries? Namibia is pregnant with opportunities,” she enthused.
Further, she said, if Namibians – especially graduates – say there are no jobs, they should take up the challenge and create jobs. She said entrepreneurship thrives where there are challenges.
“You are sleeping or busy watching ‘Shelter for Love’ at home on NBC [television]. So ‘Shelter for Love’ will create a job for you? These investors come and start a bakery in your area… how did this person steal? Maybe you are lazy. I have also seen people who are busy, but they are broke. Successful people are not living in their mother’s backyard,” she maintained.
With 36.8 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 34 years, Namibia has a bulging young population, but sadly of 28.1 percent of the population that is unemployed, 39.2 percent are youth, according to official 2014 statistics.
She encouraged young and upcoming entrepreneurs to firstly work out a plan before they can think of making money.
She also urged them to network and present themselves to well-established businesspeople for mentorship and guidance.
She went into business nine years ago with her business partner and husband, Erastus Kadhikwa. From the outset she managed to steer the business through the initial stages where they had to craft a vision and mission and develop a business plan. Over the years the nature of the business model changed and evolved into a new phase, the organisational development of the business.
Kadhikwa is offering six-month mentoring support under an entrepreneurship development programme run in partnership with Nedbank at the Xwama Cultural Village premises in Katutura.
Twenty participants will attend training once a month for the next six months in a programme fully-funded by Nedbank. The next intake will be expected to pay a fee though.