We are currently living in the digital age and the 21st century is driven by technology that has become an integral part of our daily lives. It would be a monumental challenge to quantify its impact as the ICT sector continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. Yet in all this movement and changing of the scene, some sectors of the economy are still lagging behind due to a variety of socio-economic factors. Bearing this in mind, MTN Namibia has decided to embark on a masterclass which is specifically designed to digitally empower small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), dubbed the SME Masterclass.
A Masterclass refers to a top of the class tutorial on a specific topic. According to the trusted Cambridge English Dictionary a masterclass is ‘a class taught by someone who has expert knowledge or skill in a particular area’. Having paved the way for economic development in all of its other markets across Africa and the Middle East through innovative technology, MTN is well positioned to be a thought leader and expert in this space and it will be no different for Namibia.
With a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the digital space, and overall in the Information, Communication and Technology space from an MTN Group perspective, MTN Namibia has embarked on a series of events to bring relevant education to the upcoming entrepreneurs in the country. The question for some might be, “Why a Masterclass targeted at the SMEs?” MTN says, “Why not SMEs?” SMEs have become the lifeblood of the economy, not only in Namibia but across the continent, yet much more still needs to be done to promote and uplift this sector. And with the recognition that the world has become a global village, SMEs need to be exposed to the doing of business in a global playfield – this through technology.
Having operated in the country for the past 20 years, MTN Namibia is cognizant of the need to drive economic growth by reducing unemployment and poverty, and does business that is in line and supportive of the National Development Plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan. MTN Namibia realised that there is a need to bridge the digital gap within the SME sector, -which is characterised mostly by informal set-ups-, even though this is one of the issues to be addressed through broad-based empowerment.
For the past 10 years, small businesses have been recording fast growth and contributing above their weight to the national economy. The SMEs are simultaneously creating employment and reducing the inequality gap, while contributing to the National Development Plans. Every emerging business often has a bright, unique idea that needs to see conceptualisation. The SME Masterclass is designed not only to stimulate those ideas, but to broaden minds and horizons for SME operators.
Fundamentally, the SME Masterclass will aim to build an ecosystem for Namibian SME operators and entrepreneurs, both aspiring and established, to come together and share knowledge about the obstacles and opportunities faced in today’s digital economy by creating a platform to network and establish beneficial business linkages, while at the same time enabling and equipping them on how to become viable and sustainable entities with technology as the enabler.
In delivering the SME Masterclass, MTN Namibia has partnered with prominent industry experts and technology partners to bring the MTN SME Masterclass to life as a platform to inspire and empower people eager to learn how to make a success of their businesses. Topics to look forward to in future masterclasses will be centered on MTN Namibia and technology partner products and service offering focusing mainly on SMEs, digital branding, cyber security, innovation and profiling target audiences through big data for sustainable growth, while at the same time driving some thought leadership conversations.
The SME Masterclass fits within the MTN BRIGHT strategy whose six pillars focus on technology excellence through best customer experience, returns and efficiency focus, igniting commercial performance, growth through data and digital and impacting on consumers’ hearts and minds.
Under the MTN BRIGHT strategy, one of the main objectives of MTN is to create a knowledge-based inclusive society in Namibia, and MTN is in a unique position to enrich people’s lives through communication by 2020.
*Elia Tsouros is the MD of MTN Namibia. He holds BCom and BCom Hons degrees from the University of South Africa specialising in finance. He has a diverse set of international business experience, having previously worked in various management roles across the telecommunications industry and was most recently the sales director for MTN Group Enterprise.