Minister of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) Lucia Iipumbu is impressed with the activeness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Erongo region. She expressed this sentiment during stakeholders’ consultations with the business community in the Erongo region.
During the past year, MIT collaborated with various stakeholders and embarked upon various initiatives to support entrepreneurs hard-hit by the pandemic. Highlighting the initiatives, Iipumbu said her ministry allocated Covid-19 grants to businesses that lost income during pandemic lockdowns, of which 160 business beneficiaries were from the Erongo region. MIT also distributed some 14 790 facial masks produced by Erongo-based SMEs to vulnerable people, such as pensioners, children and people living with disabilities in that region.
The Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme (IUMP) resulted in five successful applicants benefiting from the region, whereby a total of 44 entrepreneurs benefitted under this programme to the tune of N$13 million.
Iipumbu further stated the first phase of Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF) grants for 2020 totalled N$2.5 million and Erongo managed to successfully secure a fair share of these funds.
“It gives me pleasure to note here that Erongo region has and continues to be proactive in applying and participating in the ministry’s efforts to grow our business sector. I can only implore you to continue with the trend,” she urged.
Erongo governor Neville Andre, at the same occasion, said the pandemic had various negative impacts for both larger and smaller firms.
However, Andre said the effect on SMEs is especially severe, particularly because of higher levels of vulnerability and lower resilience related to their size.
He applauded the minister, noting that through the ministries’ support of the mask production support program, there was relief to many SMEs who suffered as a result of the state of emergency regulations when most trading and business activities were halted. ndre stated that through the ministry’s regional officials, Erongo went ahead in soliciting sanitisers and masks through the startup survival grant for informal traders who struggled to acquire such material. “We are delighted to have launched the one-stop-shop online business registration portal, which not only eases registration but will minimise entrepreneur costs, as they no longer have to drive to Swakopmund just to hand in an application. Now, the entrepreneurs can do it online within their place and spaces,” outlined Andre.