OKAHANDJA – The Olafika SME Development Mentorship Programme, a Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC)-sponsored initiative, is building a Diamond Generation by placing more emphasis on developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Olafika, translated from Oshiwambo means ‘The time is now’, is a structured mentorship programme designed to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills needed for business success.
The initiative, which is a brainchild of successful Namibian businesswoman, Twapewa Kadhikwa, intends to have an annual intake of five SMEs per region, culminating into 70 SMEs per year.
NDTC, in efforts to develop SMEs in the country, invested N$700 000 into the Olafika SME Development Mentorship Programme, which will benefit the 70 SMEs from the country’s 14 regions.
Speaking at the Olafika commencement ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of NDTC, Brent Eiseb, explained that the diamond trading company believes that the initiative is real economic empowerment and true development for Namibia.
He added, “Olafika is the start that is needed to sharpen potential Namibian entrepreneurs and unlock the potential towards a better Namibia.”
At the same event, Kadhikwa, the founder of Twapewa Kadhikwa Institute of Entrepreneurship and SME Development, said Olafika aims to teach SME owners to understand themselves and their business needs in order to be successful and grow their businesses, especially those living in rural areas.
“Seventy participants will be trained as well as mentored over a six-month period. During this period, participants share and discuss case studies, business scenarios and real-life situations.”
Kadhikwa stated that there is a need to build a culture of job creators: business-minded individuals who generate opportunities for themselves and others. She added that people now live in the millennial age and modern economies are no longer able to absorb large numbers of people into formal employment.
Yesterday morning, key stakeholders as well as participants in the development programme gathered at a lodge outside Okahandja to commemorate officially the start of the initiative, which was comprised of the first of the three training and development sessions. These sessions commenced immediately after the official proceedings.
During the training period, the programme will cover six chapters and will be divided into three training blocks, with the intervals between training blocks dedicated to intensive mentorship and guidance for each SME participant.
Kadhikwa further added that in March 2020, her institute will host an SME Expo and the first graduation for SMEs.
“I would like to invite everyone to look at what we are going to produce. We are producing 70 gems from all 14 regions and I can guarantee you the value that they are going to receive,” assured Kadhikwa, who emphasized a more practical than theoretical syllabus.
Talking to Inside Business, Sylvi Muyeu, the founder of Jordies Trading cc and a mentee of Olafika, said being chosen for the programme was a privilege because she came from a place that is highly rural and such initiatives do not happen. She added, “I am looking forward to learning a lot from the programme so that I will apply it in my business.”