06 Mar 2018 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 06 MAR (NAMPA) The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) on Monday opened its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Centre in Windhoek.
The financing option has also been extended to the banks regional offices in Walvis Bay and Ongwediva, a statement availed to the media on Tuesday said.
During the official opening of the SME Centre, DBN Chief Executive Officer Martin Inkumbi said the centre will bridge the gap in financing left by the closure of the SME Bank.
He said while there is a financing ecosystem for SMEs in the commercial banking sector, there is a national imperative to finance SMEs that have lower levels of collateral availability, but still present a high degree of potential in terms of sustainability of the enterprise in spite of perceived risk.
Perceptions of risk might emanate from lower collateral availability, but also from establishment in centres with lower population figures, rural areas, and in regions with lower economic activities, he added.
One of the banks socio-economic purposes, according to its mission statement, is to nurture inclusive economic participation through finance for previously disadvantaged Namibians, including women entrepreneurs.
The bank is also using the vehicle of SME finance to foster the interests of younger entrepreneurs, which it sees as the basis for the future Namibian economy, the statement said.
SMEs are seen as a mechanism to further develop regions with lower levels of economic activity and provide stimulus in rural areas.
Inkumbi said the DBN does not intend to operate in the retail banking field and views itself as a pure development finance institution.
Although the banks output can superficially be seen as finance for SMEs, the operation will be underpinned by several layers of support, particularly in the pre-application phase, he said.
In the pre-application phase, the bank particularly seeks to draw attention to the process of business planning.
Inkumbi urged applicants to give their best during the planning and application phase, concluding that when borrowers succeed in their enterprise endeavours, the bank also succeeds.