Wilbard Wilhelm, founder of Shityeni Trading cc, recently received N$ 15 000 for his winning pitch as part of the One Economy Foundation (ONE) masterclasses.
Wilhelm, who started his manufacturing company in 2004, encouraged the youth to work hard and be confident in their plans and knock on the right doors for assistance.
“The amount came at the right time, especially now during Covid-19. I couldn’t buy some material – but now, I got the money. I already bought some welding materials and a grinder for cutting metals. I am so happy,” the overjoyed Wilhelm told the Youth Corner.
He emerged as winner among 10 micro-entrepreneurs who pitched their business plans for funding from the ONE foundation during a two-day masterclass held last month at Ongwediva under the theme ‘Building capacity, transforming businesses and improving socio-economic outcomes’.
The training was attended by 19 youth micro-entrepreneurs from the Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Omusati regions to strengthen the capacity, confidence, networks and capital of youth micro-entrepreneurs, thereby better positioning them to build sustainable, impactful and profitable businesses.
Gabriel Shilongo, owner of Okalongo Vegetable Supplies, ended as the runner-up, and received N$10 000.
“I am excited and happy; there are people trying to uplift the youth through such interventions. What I am going to do with the money is clear more land to increase production. I want to buy more pipes. I am also going to put up a tap where people in my community can access water easily since there is no access point and access to clean water,” shared the enthusiastic Shilongo, who has been running his vegetable supply business since 2019.
“The main aim of the masterclass was to build the personal and business competencies of participants, connect them with service providers, and leverage shared lessons to accelerate business growth and socio-economic outcomes,” said the CEO of the foundation, Sem Mandela Uutoni.
Uutoni added that as a youth-focused organisation, ONE recognises the critical role of innovation and youth entrepreneurship in stimulating local economic development in line with the ethos of investing in the growth of micro-entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurs benefitted from an array of business skills development sessions, including market research, design thinking, financing opportunities, mental health, marketing and scaling as well as growth strategies.
They also received information on how to leverage international trade opportunities, and harness partnerships to strengthen and sustain their businesses.
The participants noted that the masterclass was very informative and empowering as it created a platform for the creation of business networks, exchange of knowledge, and sharing of experiences and success stories between the micro-entrepreneurs and the facilitators.