New Era | Staff Reporter | 2018-07-25
The Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme, designed by successful entrepreneur and businessperson, Twapewa Kadhikwa, has partnered with Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) to assist and guide those who are at the early stages of running a business to learn from and be guided by accomplished entrepreneurs. “Olafika” means “the time is now”, and Kadhikwa’s explanation is that the time has arrived to make that move in starting your entrepreneurial journey or growing your enterprise. Kadhikwa is a firm believer that SMEs are the backbone of many economies in the world, and this can be duplicated in Namibia if the capacities of SMEs are increased.
Government, particularly through the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, attaches great importance to facilitating the development of small and medium businesses in equipping them to enhance their competitiveness. “Mentorship is key in the development of any individual, especially when starting or growing a business. Mentorship provides the mentee an opportunity to learn from an experienced person who walks the journey with them towards success.
Government will not absorb our unemployment levels. We must diversify our economy and empower our entrepreneurs in the various regions to create sustainable jobs – and we must accelerate the entrepreneurship agenda,” said Kadhikwa. She added that SMEs confront many challenges and difficulties during the start-up stage. “Under the SME Development and Mentorship Programme, accomplished entrepreneurs, professionals and academics render expert advice to SME owners, helping them lay a good foundation to develop their business, widen their exposure and expand business connections, thereby raising their competitiveness,” Kadhikwa said.
The Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme has an annual intake of five SMEs per region, culminating in 70 SMEs per year. NDTC believes that this is real economic empowerment and development. Topics to be covered during the programme include understanding entrepreneurship, planning your business, managing your finances, managing your people, marketing and sales as well as running your business. The mentorship will take place over a three-month period of intensive training and engagement. Once completed, NDTC will host a graduation ceremony. After graduation, the NDTC is expected to host the Olafika National SME expo, leading to the Olafika National SME Awards where the SME of the year will be showcased to the nation and the world.
Kadhikwa noted that the target audiences for the Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme are existing entrepreneurs willing to grow their business, family-owned business owners, export-focused SMEs, SMEs adding value to local raw materials and emerging entrepreneurs. The Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme and Kadhikwa’s book, tilted ‘Successful Entrepreneurship’ will both be launched on August 9, 2018.
“The book, ‘Successful Entrepreneurship’ is your starting point. By offering personal insights into the journey of entrepreneurship, it will push you to look beyond the business idea and to find your purpose. It will teach you non-academic soft skills critical to the success of enterprise, yet all too often overlooked by academia. These skills form the sturdy foundation upon which to build your entrepreneurial future. It is my deepest hope that this book and the SME Development and Mentorship Programme will help you to be at the forefront of a generation of entrepreneurs,” said Kadhikwa.