Team Namibia trains new entrepreneurs with Finnish help

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-The first five-day module of the entrepreneurial training programme hosted by Team Namibia and supported by the Embassy of Finland took place from September 4 to 8 in Windhoek. Team Namibia is hosting an entrepreneurial training programme that is funded by the Embassy of Finland to the value of N$1.76 million. The programme aims to train and mentor 25 select small to medium-sized business owners from Katutura, by equipping them with the ability to establish successful enterprises.

 “Team Namibia’s focus is on supporting the development of entrepreneurship and further enhancing the capacities of small to medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, we strive to inspire competitive standards and stimulate consumer confidence for the increased consumption of local goods and services,” said Team Namibia account director Bärbel Kirchner. 

According to Kirchner, impacting economic sustainability will ultimately support national efforts of creating employment, generating income and permanently reducing poverty. The Embassy of Finland was represented at the first day of the five-day workshop and expressed appreciation of Team Namibia’s efforts to promote Namibian products and support the development of entrepreneurial skills. The embassy supports the development policy of the Namibian government in line with NDP5.

A representative of the embassy said: “Supporting projects of this nature creates new opportunities for people, encourages entrepreneurship and provides business owners with the necessary skills.”
“In the current state of the national economy, views are shifting towards looking at additional ways to make a living. The growing urban settlements offer a chance for businesses and marketing, but it is a question of finding the correct product and a niche.”

 The embassy is funding the project through their Fund for Local Cooperation, which they call the Mobilisation of Production and Trade Capacities of Namibian Small Enterprises in Katutura.

After a rigorous selection process of the 400 applicants, Team Namibia interviewed the top 100 candidates, of whom 25 had been selected to participate in the programme.

The training programme educates participants on basic business principles, regulatory requirements of a business, procurement procedures, production management, personnel management, and marketing and financial management, the training for which is facilitated by Professor Rainer Trede, from Decosa.  

According to participants, their most valuable learning experiences come from the lessons fellow entrepreneurs share during the training.

 “The training is beneficial and comes with many guidelines on how to run a business,” said Domingo Sandu, one of the participants.

“I have learned about joint ventures, which we hardly see in Namibia. Because of my new knowledge I am already in discussions with another business owner to form a joint venture. He has a well-established company in the food industry, and he might introduce one of my products in his enterprise,” Sandu explained.

 “The first training module was an eye-opener,” said chicken farmer Albert Handunge. “I thought I knew a lot but realised there are many things about running a business that I was not aware of,” revealed Handunge. “Sometimes entrepreneurs want to do everything when it comes to business. I have learned that there are certain phases you have to complete before getting to the entry point of business,” explained Andreas Shaanika. 

Linda Ndakolo, who is a designer of clothes and beadwork, said that learning about writing up a business plan and registering a business was most helpful to her.

 The programme consists of five training modules spaced over six to eight weeks. Coaching and mentoring sessions supplement the training modules.  The next training sessions will take place on 16 to 20 October 2017 (module 2); 12 to 16 February 2018 (module 3); 9 to 13 April 2018 (module 4); and 4 to 8 June 2018 (module 5). 

Founded in 2003, Team Namibia is a member-based non-profit movement aimed at mobilising Namibian consumers to buy local, as well as driving the promotion of the production of quality local products and services. With ‘UUKUMWE” being the mantra, the organisation’s mission is to support Namibian businesses by inspiring competitive standards amongst members, stimulating consumer confidence in Namibian products and services, and positively impacting economic sustainability in line with Vision 2030 goals.

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