Windhoek-In 2018, identified as the year of reckoning by the head of state, President Hage Geingob, there is a renewed emphasis on the role entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs serve to help turn the tides of the economy. Seeing that not every businessperson as well as prospective entrepreneurs necessarily have the know-how and the skills on how to establish and successfully manage a business, particularly amidst turbulent times, mentorship is becoming non-negotiable.
Against the backdrop of the fact that Namibians are accustomed to conducting their affairs, including those of a business nature, in a conservative nature, a paradigm shift may be necessary. Whilst prudence remains advisable in the manner one consolidates expenditure and curb wastages, an out-of-the-box approach has become imperative now more than ever.
A local business guru, Twapewa Kadhikwa, has been the forerunner in entrepreneurship mentorship that has been greatly hailed by many of its participants. Mutual learning and exchange top the entrepreneurship agenda of successful engagement.
The story of Leonie Manka Syed-Samiullah is nothing short of sheer inspiration. She runs two businesses – one revolving around the tourism industry and the other, her current main source of cash inflow, a second-hand car tyre dealership.
According to her, the biggest lesson she learned from the programme was the financial aspect. It completely reshaped the way she views and deals with her business finances. “Financially, it has benefited me in such a way that I can now identify my mistakes from the past and rectify it.”
As the owner in an industry where the majority of clients pay in cash, she always has access to money. This, she says, resulted in her using such funds for petrol when necessary. “Or you would realise that there is no bread at home and buy bread with the cash on hand.”
She says this led to a lack of accountability. “I had no track record of where the money was going. Although one keeps receipts, they sometimes go missing.”
Moreover, she did not make much of the fact that, as the business owner, she never drew a salary. “I thought seeing that I hold the money, it was not necessary for me to draw one. So, this programme has changed the whole manner in which I conduct my business,” she says. Another important element, she emphasises, was learning how to manage her time. “I learned what to do when.”
A Swakopmund-based entrepreneur, also in the tourism industry, Heinrich Hafeni Nghidipaya says he found the programme very informative. “It is very good. As a businessman, I learned a lot of skills on how to survive. She (Kadwika) taught us many principles and the ethics on how to run a business. Twapewa is a leading brand in the country. So, you learn from an established person.”
David Shifotoka, who runs a charcoal producing enterprise in Tsumeb says it is unfortunate that he could not complete the programme. However, the two sessions that he managed to attend greatly benefited his business. He says he wishes to complete the rest of the programme so that he reaps all the rewards.
Nedbank Namibia is committed to supporting and fostering the potential of Namibia and its people through entrepreneurship and is the financial driving force behind these mentoring sessions. The mentorship programme runs over six months, delivered in 6 full-day sessions (one contact session a month) where core areas of business will be studied and discussed with mentees. An approved toolkit is offered to each participant, in a cozy environment that is business-friendly, allowing for a personal learning experience.
Nelson Simasiku, Head of SME Business at Nedbank says, “Taking the leap to become an entrepreneur can be a daunting task. People have the skills to be productive, but that they don’t necessarily have the tools or backing in place to make their vision a reality in the long run. The bank offers an array of tailor-made solutions whether you are starting, managing or growing a business.
There is an SME Banker at every Nedbank branch where a personal financial adviser who will assist you to open the necessary accounts, and provide documentation of accounts that you may need to register your business.
The SME Banker will also assist you to set up a personal balance sheet that will be used to determine the amount of finance that Nedbank can provide for you.”