The Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme, which kicked off on 1 July 2020 and is expected to run until April 2021 will see 155 entrepreneurs receiving virtual business training valued at N$1.8 million.
The funds have been allocated towards the setting up of the e-learning process, tools, systems and assessment, programme administration and management, as well as the development of the course material and mentorship framework.
The awarded funding is also intended to create or support existing mentoring matches and help to increase positive attitudes toward e-learning. The best mentees’ business will be receiving various incentives and support during the duration of the programme.
The programme consisting of 77 males and 78 female entrepreneurs from across the country entails them getting business training and one-on-one business mentorship on how to manage their businesses to survive the current Covid-19 pandemic as well as prepare for post-corona innovative business projects.
“The Olafika Class of 2020 has an eight-module e-learning course offered through a locally generated learning virtual portal (Quiversoft) and is facilitated by top experts, among them former Director of the Financial Literacy Initiative and current Deputy Director for Professionalisation and Capacity Strengthened in the Ministry of Finance, Francois Brandt, as well as multi-award winning African entrepreneur, Kennedy Liswani, founder and innovator of the Katoshe D30 mobile phone,” explained Ivawa Shimweefeleni, Olafika’s Marketing and Communications Officer.
Shimweefeleni emphasised that this is the first SME e-learning and mentorship programme in Namibia. “Since July, mentees have been attending three virtual classes per week, engaging guest lecturers, attending to practical business assignments, case studies, tests and exams, as stipulated in the Olafika SME mentorship course-outline. Swakopmund-based entrepreneur, Heinrich Hafeni, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Lucia Ipumbu, are among some of the guest lecturers to have engaged the mentees during the virtual classes,” she informed.
She also highlighted that 75 mentors who are established business gurus and entrepreneurs are in the process of being identified with the support of the Local Economic Development (LED) officers through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
Two Olafika mentees will be mentored and supported by the selected business gurus in their regions and local authorities while identifying investment opportunities and new ventures.
“The mentorship process will last for six months, in line with the current Covid-19 regulations, and commences at the end of the current e-learning process.”
Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) CEO Brent Eiseb, hinted that the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the African entrepreneurs to adopt a mindset for the future, which is a model-mindset of economic development.
He said: “The best captains are made during the harshest of storms, we are excited to be supporting an initiative which is further reinforcing the making of the best entrepreneurs during this Covid-19 storm.”
Thomas Keller, the Resident Representative of The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in the country, underlined the crucial role of entrepreneurs in the economic development of a country and in particular in entrepreneurship.
“By supporting entrepreneurship, we at KAS aim to develop a community focused on encouraging innovation and to facilitate the exchange of experience among Namibian businesses. An important step in the development of entrepreneurship had been made, providing entrepreneurs with training, mentoring and practical advice towards access to finance and innovation,” he remarked. - firstname.lastname@example.org