Small business owners graduate in the capital

06 Nov 2013 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 06 NOV (NAMPA) - Close to 40 owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) received certificates at the Polytechnic of Namibia on Wednesday after completing an SME development programme of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The ministry’s Business Support Services Programme (BSSP) falls under the Ministry of Trade’s Directorate of Industrial Development, and is was implemented at the Polytechnic’s Centre for Enterprise Development (CED).
The BSSP is aimed at accelerating the expansion of existing and emerging businesses to create increased opportunities for employment, and to support self-employed people to transform their initiatives into businesses with the capacity to employ others.
Support services provided by the programme include the promotion and expansion of resource-based and value adding business, facilitating the sourcing of production inputs and technologies, and marketing services and market access.
In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy Permanent Secretary Bernadette Artivor, the Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein called on the SMEs to make use of the services in his ministry in order for them to establish their presence in the Namibian market.
These services include the website which was recently launched by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to showcase activities and products manufactured by local SMEs, in this way getting their products to the rest of the country and the world.
Other services include the SME Bank which gives small businesses access to funding.
Schlettwein explained that the Directorate of Industrial Development, amongst other things, is charged with the task of overseeing and co-ordinating the development of SMEs.
This includes input into the six areas that comprise Government's SME development programme, namely facilitation of access to finance, construction of sites and premises, technology transfer, purchasing of raw materials, marketing and entrepreneurial training.
Also speaking at the event, the Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia, Tjama Tjivikua said since 2011, the institution enrolled 108 trainees under the BSSP of which 72 received certificates, including the new graduates.
In February 2013, the Polytechnic and Ministry of Trade signed a Memorandum of Agreement to renew and extend existing collaboration in which both parties committed to working together to address the needs of SMEs, as well as providing business support.
Tjivikua further said the Polytechnic, soon to become the University of Science and Technology, intends to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training in order to empower small businesses to become better linked to the global world in which they compete, consciously or unconsciously.
“It is imperative that our business people realise that they should not be confined to the borders of their communities, towns or Namibia, because with a small population growth they will remain limited,” he said.
He said ICT is the tool that will create access to diverse markets, thus providing better logistics and access to alternative and cheaper suppliers.
The programme covers four regions - //Karas, Khomas, Hardap and Omaheke.