Entrepreneurship among the youth is one of the fast-growing sectors and a possible solution to the high unemployment rate and severe poverty in the country.
This has prompted young entrepreneur Rakkel Mwandi (26) to open a leather training academy, offering a four-month production course at the Multi-Purpose Centre in Walvis Bay, for a fee of N$1 800.
Mwandi said she teaches basic leather production, designing, cutting of materials, costing and pricing of products, adding that she targets to enrol young people, new start-ups and existing business organisations, which are trading in the same sector to add value to their products.
According to Mwandi, her training academy is registered under her registered leather company RS Leather Creation.
She completed both the Leather Craft and Design and Leather patchwork courses at the Swakopmund-based Namibia Community Skills Development Foundation (COSDEF) in 2015 and 2016 respectively and has been a self-employed leather trader since.
“I saw an opportunity in Walvis Bay for giving training due to the fact that there is no COSDEF here, and people travel every day to Swakopmund to attend classes,” she said, adding that she caters to those who can’t afford her fees through an agreement she has with the multipurpose centre, “the centre gives me five students who are unable to pay, that includes two inmates from Walvis Bay Correctional Facility per intake,” she said.
Mwandi, whose own leather business took off after she was awarded N$5 000 by SMEs Compete, encourages more young people to venture into self-employment in the informal sector.
“When I started as a young entrepreneur, I faced difficulties securing start-up capital as well as investments and loans. However difficult it was, I was determined to make my venture a success,” says the young entrepreneur who produces leather products such as shoes, handbags, wallets and bracelets.
Mwandi looks forward to a promising future with aspirations of expanding her business by establishing more branches in other towns across the country.