Keetmanshoop-Only about 20 percent of the 360 businesses established by young people since 2011 in the //Kharas Region through the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme have been successful.
This is according to Ronald Kanguvi, the training and employment officer in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture at Keetmanshoop, who said about 80 percent of the businesses funded through the scheme failed, while some never even got off the ground.
Statistics indicate that 513 young entrepreneurs were trained, while 457 received loans amounting to N$1.2 million, with 360 businesses established through the scheme, creating 506 jobs, but Kanguvi was quick to say the statistics do not represent the actual situation on the ground.
He said most of the businesses have failed over the past few years, as only about 20 percent of the established businesses are thriving and are still operational.
As someone who monitors the progress of the businesses, he readily acknowledged that small businesses face many challenges to keep going, but cited a lack of discipline and commitment as one of the major factors contributing to business failure.
“We have a problem, as our youth are not disciplined and committed. All of them got about N$2,000 to start, but some went to Edgars to buy shoes, while others bought things to sell,” he said.
One of those who could not keep her business afloat is Salome Isaacks, who started selling donkey meat in 2012. She said the business failed because clients were not paying what they owed her on time.
“I used to give meat on credit and these people never paid back. This credit made me bankrupt, and my expenses were more than the income, so I gave up,” she explained.
While others failed, business is going strong for hair stylist Lahja Johannes. She recounted how she started with N$2,000 from the scheme, which she used to buy hair for resale.
After a second loan of N$20,000, she set up her own hair salon and three shops at Ileni, from where she sells food items.
She says no amount of money is too little to start a business, and that discipline is key to success. Some businesses failed because the owners were stealing from their own business. They take money from the business and use it for other purposes. This will close down the business,” she said.
“When I got the N$2,000 people were asking me what I would do with it, but look where I am today. Money is never too little, unless you are not hardworking.”