• July 10th, 2020

Olafika SME Mentorship Programme seeks 150 entrepreneurs


The Olafika SME Development and Mentorship 2020 Programme seeks to mentor 150 Namibian entrepreneurship over 10 months. After a successful 2019, during which 77 SMEs were mentored and received level 4 entrepreneurship training, the programme has this year doubled the number of beneficiaries. 

 The Class of 2020 will be virtual, focusing on urgent issues faced by business, particularly as a result of Covid-19. Olafika seeks entrepreneurs who are hungry to make a difference to their businesses and their communities in these unprecedented times of Covid-19. Applications opened on Monday, June 8. 
 The fully-funded SME Mentorship Programme aims at enabling entrepreneurs who are at their early stage of business to learn from and be guided by accomplished entrepreneurs, senior executives and professionals. 
 The programme is supported 
by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade & SME 

Development, and funded by the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) as well as the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.  
 The mentorship will begin this July and this year’s focus is on guiding Namibian entrepreneurs through their current business challenges. Among the key business modules, entrepreneurs will receive mentoring support on strategy, operations, commercial and financial analysis, change management, people management, product review and business development.   Commenting on the
 remodelled 2020 version of Olafika, NDTC CEO Brent Eiseb said: “This is an enterprise-driven initiative. It was designed, in consultation with Namibian businesses, to meet the needs of SMEs at this challenging time. With so much business uncertainty at the moment, it is positive that NDTC has partnered to leverage our connections with over 100 mentors. Businesses like ours play a key role both in helping society get through an economic crisis and in creating innovations that shape society after a crisis.” 

 Olafika is open to SMEs operating across Namibia in all sectors across the economy, including retail, hospitality, food & drink, media & audio-visual, manufacturing, services, construction, agriculture and many more. Entrepreneurs will be matched with one of 75 expert industry mentors. Besides the virtual classes offered by industry experts, a 10-month mentorship will also commence after a mentee has been successfully matched with a mentor where the mentor and mentee are encouraged to meet at least 3 times as mutually agreed, in line with the new Covid-19 guidelines. 

 Said KAS resident representative Thomas Keller, “Actions during the crisis will shape businesses in the long run. Every crisis creates opportunities for businesses to become more innovative. Facing external pressures, some business leaders are stepping out of their routines and comfort zones to become creative problem-solvers. Along the way, they rediscover their entrepreneurial spirit. At KAS, it is clear the post-pandemic future will be different. What’s happening during the Covid-19 crisis will have a lasting impact on our society but current signs of entrepreneurial initiative and goodwill give us some cause for optimism in Namibia.” 
Olafika mentors have extensive experience in formulating action plans to guide and support SMEs through challenges such as business restructuring, restricted transactions, financial concerns, job losses, business re-adaptation and new guidelines on health and safety, among other things.  

 Olafika encourages SMEs to sign up through their website or social media platforms and avail of this opportunity to seek sound advice and to help navigate their immediate business challenges.  
 As demand is expected to be high, places will be made available to eligible businesses that register on a first-come-first-served basis. 
“The government attaches great importance in facilitating the development of SMEs and helping them enhance competitiveness. This year our criteria remain the same but the application process is a bit flexible, as we have to adapt to the new norm. Applicants can submit their company registration, and profile via WhatsApp, and if they meet the criteria, they stand a chance to be selected,” said Twapewa Kadhikwa, the director of Twapewa Kadhikwa Institute of Entrepreneurial Development, the implementing partner of 
Olafika. 
 


Staff Reporter
2020-06-19 09:38:47 | 21 days ago

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