‘Namibia Entrepreneurs’ target 10% of youth

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek – The Wadhwani Foundation will work with young entrepreneurs by supporting them in early-stage enterprises with mentoring, learning tools and investor connects, says Bafana Kubheka, executive vice-president and managing director of Wadhwani Southern Africa.

Just over 43% of Namibian youth aged 15-34 are unemployed, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA). This translates into almost 65,000 graduates looking for a job, with tertiary institutions churning out another 10,000 every year.

“We want to target 10% of them and convince these young people to stop looking for a job and try the entrepreneurial route,” says Kubheka.

Several key players this week joined hands to develop the Namibian entrepreneur space and facilitate access to funding and guidance. At a pop-up breakfast event in the capital, the Financial Literacy Initiative (FLI) and the University of Namibia (Unam) teamed up with the Wadhwani Foundation to provide funding solutions for budding entrepreneurs. The partners, organised under the umbrella ‘Namibia Entrepreneurs’ also launched a new portal: Namibiaentrepreneurs.com. This website provides match-making services between entrepreneurs and other service providers and venture capitalists.

“There is a lot happening in the Namibian entrepreneur space, but efforts are fragmented and there is no entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Unam’s Namibia Business School director Professor Grafton Whyte.
“With this portal we want to bring together different stakeholders for the benefit of entrepreneurs and provide a toolbox for start-ups.”

The pop-up breakfast held at the Mareua Rooftop attracted many young entrepreneurs looking for guidance and funding. Through a partnership with the Wadhwani Foundation, Namibia Entrepreneurs offers mentoring, training and funding to students who want to start a company.

Founded by Silicon Valley tycoon, Dr Rimesh Wadhwani, the foundation works with students who don’t have collateral to get a bank loan and need angel investors. The Wadhwani Foundation combines learning with mentoring and funding.
“Namibia Entrepreneurs aims to bring together innovators, start-ups, funders and service providers to create a national movement on entrepreneurship,” adds FLI director Francois Brandt. FLI is one of the initiators of the Namibia Start-Up Festival, which will be held again on June 28 and 30.

This year the Start-up Festival will team up with the Namibia Business School to host a symposium on promoting entrepreneurship in Namibia. This is in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan that calls for creating an enabling environment for start-ups.

More information is available from Whyte at: gwhyte@unam.na and/or at loide.shikale@nbs.edu.na

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