Windhoek Entrepreneur Base (WEB) opened its doors on Friday in collaboration with Afra Chase, renowned entrepreneur and financial consultant, at its new office through a networking session entitled ‘Lessons Learnt’.
Audrey Akwenye, co-founder of WEB, alongside Mariane Akwenye and Counney Kemp briefed the over twenty selected guests in attendance on how to learn to grab opportunities during economic challenges.
“We have taken note of the various challenges that entrepreneurs have been facing during this time and decided to create a cost-effective workspace where entrepreneurs can continue to share ideas, connect with other innovators and learn the necessary skills to succeed in their business. A few entrepreneurs have lost some hope in terms of continuing their business and closed their doors to recover; therefore, we have added a mentorship program to re-spark that drive to still succeed while we weather the storm.
“I am pleased to announce that our next session will be hosted by Andrew Hansen from Simonis Storm to guide participants on structuring their company for future investment,” she said.
At the dual occasion of WEB’s premiere, Afra Chase admitted to the economy having an effect on her business but in a positive way.
She shared her insights from personal experience. “I consult with many customers who have been able to discuss their financial household issues more openly and seeking advice. This is a great sign, which indicates that Namibians have acknowledged the change in their lifestyle and the willingness to re-adjust their spending more cautiously.
“I took the liberty to utilise WEB’s platform to support the new businesses in tough times. I could have selected an established venue but instead have cautiously made the decision to aid those serving a great purpose as a ripple effect.
“As an entrepreneur it reminds me of the establishment of my company in 2007. There have always been challenges along the way, which allowed room for diversity and repositioning. My advice today has not come at a better time than now, which forces Namibians to appreciate financial advice and recognize the importance of saving and investment. I still face the inability to maintain and this is a concept that is an ongoing effort alongside focus.”
During her presentation she gave a great example of the Sign Shop that has managed to maintain itself despite the foggy climate Namibia has been facing.
Beverly Jandrell-Uren, COO of the Sign Shop, alluded to partnerships being key in such difficult times.
“Even though many corporates have been placed in a very difficult position by retrenching staff, we have appreciated the opportunity given to collaborate more than what we would have if it was not for this economic recession. We have been able to retain all of our staff and also realign them into new positions that have explored new talent, which staff never knew they possessed,” she happily said.
At the end of the networking session, the Sign Shop sponsored WEB free outdoor advertising for a period of three months.
Entrepreneur Paulo Coehlo applauded WEB for creating such a platform that is cost effective. “Running my own company in the digital space I have had to make slight changes and one of them being the costs of my workspace. With the affordable amount of as little as $1,800 per month rental fee at WEB, this is surely an investment that will save me an extra $1,000 that I have been paying elsewhere.”
During the one-on-one session with the co-founders of WEB, Mariane Akwenye (first black female pilot in Namibia) demonstrated the importance of planning.
“Many are amazed that I have still managed to run my SPA, training academy and barber shop concurrently. This is not the time to become more fearful of the environment but to embrace its and think differently and creatively.
“WEB is one of the many platforms that allow me to help the next. In life, I have been helped by wonderful mentors and now I can do the same,” she said with a smile.
Mentorship has also greatly made room for Counney Kemp, co-founder of WEB, to learn constantly. “I am a final year psychology student at the University of Namibia and have realised that studying full time does not pay bills. This new project has allowed me to design my own future and align it with my goal of achieving my qualifications,” she noted.