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Trade engages Zambezi women, youth

2024-05-21  John Muyamba

Trade engages Zambezi women, youth

Deputy trade minister Verna Sinimbo last week engaged women and youths at Katima Mulilo to share her ministry’s adopted support initiatives towards entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprise operators.

“I have seen it as a need that this information be disseminated to our small business operators to close the awareness gap that may exist, and to also create awareness of this support initiative that the ministry has to offer,’’ She said.

Sinimbo said among the other support initiatives the ministry has put in place is the Equipment Aid Scheme.

This is a scheme in which the ministry aims to meet the efforts of small and medium-sized business operators or entrepreneurs by providing them with machinery or equipment that is crucial for the SMEs to boost their production capacity.

“The ministry is aware that most start-up businesses may face a challenge when it comes to the acquisition of equipment or machinery to sustain the business. Therefore, it is the mandate of the ministry to create a conducive environment, and support SMEs and entrepreneurs to thrive,’’ she said.

Due to financial constraints, the Equipment Aid Scheme has been halted since 2019.

“The good news is that this programme was revived last year to continue to render support to Namibian-owned SMEs across all 14 regions,’’ she said.

The deputy minister said application forms will be made available at all the regional offices when the time to apply for such support is advertised. It is traditionally done once a year.

Sinimbo encouraged all SMEs and business operators, especially women and youth, to make use of the opportunity to maintain the sustainability of their businesses, create employment and generate income.

The Equipment Aid Scheme focuses on manufacturing and value-addition.

“This scheme is designed to create an environment of self-employment, strengthen capacities for SME entrepreneurs as well as SME service providers, and develop entrepreneurial spirit and skills through technology acquisition,” she said.

To support the graduation of SMEs and other small businesses into the economic mainstream, additional support, such as the industrial upgrading and modernisation programme, is provided to businesses that are already in operation at the level of producing goods and services, and might need further production development diversification to improve the quality of their goods and services, as well as increase their production and clientele.

“Let us not sleep on such opportunities that will be of support to your businesses. Such information will be disseminated to the masses once such an opportunity is provided by the ministry. Please do apply. Together, we can all positively contribute towards the industrialisation of Namibia and its economy,’’ she said.

During the information-sharing session, Sinimbo also encouraged business owners to expand their business activities to rural areas to enhance economic activity and create job opportunities.

She further highlighted that rural communities should not be neglected, but must be included in the drive for economic freedom.

2024-05-21  John Muyamba

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