First Start Up Grind inspires young entrepreneurs

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Staff Reporter
Windhoek
 
Aspiring entrepreneurs and young small/medium enterprise owners were left inspired and more motivated than ever before to make a success of their ventures after their attendance at the first-ever networking session for Start-Up Grind last Thursday.

Sponsored by Standard Bank, in collaboration with Windhoek Chapter of Start Up Grind, the event saw Standard Bank’s Head of Enterprise Banking, Dennis Isaacs and reputable businesswoman managing director of Leap Holdings Group, Ally Angula, inspire the attendees’ invaluable insights on how to make a Start Up a resounding success.

Start Up Grind is a global start-up community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Founded in Palo Alto, California, it is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and has a network of Start Up Grind chapters are located around the world.  

In Windhoek, Start Up Grind is under the stewardship of Director Stacey Pinto. Standard Bank sponsored N$38,000 towards the first of its kind event.

‘We want to help young entrepreneurs grow their businesses and manage them so that they can make a profit… However, there are various things they need to know and expect from us as the bank. They need to know that the bank doesn’t only give financial assistance but also advises them how to grow and sustain their businesses,” Isaacs advised the young entrepreneurs.

He further advised the perspective minds behind the future Start Up that would propel Namibia’s economy to always have the competitive edge render the best services in the industry and most importantly to know the people share and can run with their vision.

“Young entrepreneurs also need to think of the Economies of Scale, they need to think big. They need to learn how to manage a business, they need to work on their numbers, they need to price their products correctly so they can make a profit and most importantly they need to dig deep to make their business bankable,” he stressed.

In terms of the bank financing a Start Up, Isaacs said the bank needs to look at the entrepreneur’s capacity for repayment and the economic conditions and a way to mitigate them if they are unfavourable.
“We also don’t focus on collateral; we look at the candidates’ ability for repayment, however I advise that they have a contingency plan for “what if the business fails” because you will need a back-up plan just in case your initial business fails,” Isaacs said.

He stressed that the Bank has various products that young entrepreneurs can choose from to advance their business such as the Business Current Account, Business revolving credit, commerce property loan and contract financing, to name a few. He advised potential enterprise owners to contact the Toll free number 0819286, for more options.

Angula, who admitted that she had a rocky start from venturing into the Corporate to the Enterprise sector, said that she has found that people want to be employed but they do not want to work, which involves rendering their services beyond their normal working hours into the wee morning hours.

“There is a value in principles because you need to be principled in your decisions (as a business person),” Angula said. She added that Start Up’s should know that they don’t have a business until they are generating income.
Highlighting something that most entrepreneurs do not think about, Angula urged them to venture into bartering, looking into what they can offer other people in return for something that they can use.

“The only thing that will save this continent is if we make and consume our own products, as well as export them. We need to learn that failure is not as bad as we think because people can learn from it. We need to pay attention to the smallest details and listen to what we are being told,” she stressed.

Additionally, she pointed out that there are a lot of uncharted territories in Namibia for Start Ups and that provides immense opportunities for them.

“Namibians are not used to Start Ups, they are used to already established institutions. I want to advise them that they should not push to go get money (through lending) but they should gain traction through selling. Entrepreneurs need to fund their operation and not the growth of the business, do what you can with what you have,” she concluded.

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