Founder of the International University of Management (IUM), Dr David Namwandi has called on young Namibian entrepreneurs to submit applications for funding for the 2017/18 financial year as part of his contribution to assist the unemployed graduates who are languishing in poverty.
The funds will be channelled through the David Namwandi Trust which he initiated by setting up a Graduate Innovation and Enterprise Academy.
The purpose of his intervention is to identify and nurture young entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing SMEs with viable business proposals. He will avail funds to enable them to develop convincing investment pitches and formulate a commercially, financially, socially and environmentally viable growth strategy that in turn will significantly enhance the possibility of sustaining the business project without the need for further external funding.
Despite government’s commitment to ensure graduates are absorbed into the job market, dozens of unemployed graduates took to the streets recently to air their frustrations at being jobless after many years of sacrifice, sleepless nights and huge amounts of money spent on getting an academic qualification.
At least 26 percent of graduates who finish their tertiary education end up unemployed, revealed a tracer study conducted by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) in 2011.
Recently, during the IUM graduation ceremony Namwandi pledged to support a Graduate Innovation and Enterprise Academy at IUM, which will help about 25 graduates create their own jobs and in turn assist others.
Speaking to New Era in an interview, he said these graduates would be funded by David Namwandi Family Trust, which he started recently.
“That is my passion. I will fund them myself through my Trust. I was assisted by other people so I need to plough back. After a certain period of time when they (graduates) are doing well, I would like to have the money back to the Trust so we can assist other people as well, but it will be done interest-free,” he noted.
A new curriculum and practical oriented focusing on innovation and entrepreneurial promotion among students is underway. Namwandi said he want to create employment through graduates especially those who find themselves jobless.
He said he would identify graduates who have bankable project proposals for them to either strengthen their existing companies or to establish companies that will create employment for themselves and others.
Further, he explained the Academy is well equipped and ready to have an intake of 25 students of which the biggest emphasis will be placed on IUM students.
The rest will comprise of graduates from other higher institutions of learning such as the University of Namibia (Unam) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) including private institutions.
“We want to make sure they don’t just go out and look for job, they must also create jobs,” said Namwandi.
The trust will cover priority area such as SMEs, business projects, community health related projects, information technology projects, human resources development projects and energy security.
He will prioritise those students who graduated with Honors Degree in Business Administration, Education, IT (digital communication) and HIV/AIDS.
“We are really looking at projects that will have an impact on our country and create jobs and keep our graduates busy. We will continue monitoring these graduates,” he maintained.
To qualify one has to be a Namibian citizen or a registered SME entity wholly owned by Namibians especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
Applicants should be between 20 to 35 years.