The CEO of the Namibia Trade Forum (NTF), Stacey Pinto, says youth entrepreneurs should collaborate and form partnerships with individuals and organisations to increase production capacity for greater impact.
She said this at the final part of the session on Covid-19 Survival Kit for Youth Entrepreneurs discussing trade opportunities for the youth, hosted by the One Economy Foundation, through the Office of the First Lady that focused on innovation. Pinto urged the youth to make use of channels such as NCCI (Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and NTF for advice and guidance. “Africa is abuzz. The world is looking to Africa for trade opportunities. Namibia has land and space, while also being geographically located to allow for trade partnerships. I advise youth entrepreneurs to plug in and engage various organisations, the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, Ministry of Finance and BoN (Bank of Namibia) on what further initiatives and opportunities are available within different sectors,” she said.
DBN YOUTH FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITIES
At the same event, Mahevo Kadhepa, strategic investments analyst at Development Bank of Namibia, spoke in depth on financing opportunities for youth entrepreneurs, highlighting what the bank looks at when assessing applications.
“If you are an entrepreneur and between the ages of 18 to 35, you can apply for a loan of N$30 000 to N$1 million. You, however, need to make sure that you take insurance for that loan for it to be covered. It is important to have a registered business also,” informed Kadhepa.
She said they (applicants) need to bear in mind that what they are applying for is not a grant. “It is not a grant, it is a loan and you need to pay it back and we can’t shy away from that,” mentioned Kadhepa.
“We look at the project concept when assessing loans – your plan should be crystal clear, explained properly, who is your target market, be clear as to what you are going to do. We also don’t want to entertain selfish businesses, you need to be able to create employment and make sure that your business is sustainable,” she added.
With this being the second talk the One Economy Foundation hosted, Sem Mandela Uutoni, the foundation’s CEO designate, said the two-part series was convened on the understanding that businesses are impacted by Covid-19’s invisible and hidden ways and without a shared understanding about these impacts, attempts at recovery may flounder. He said the focus for the forum was to have open and helpful discussions on the impact of the pandemic on the mental health and ability of youth entrepreneurs to innovate. “The forum will encourage peer to peer discussions and sharing of key experiences to develop a shared understanding of how these lessons can be leveraged to benefit a wider audience.”
The first part of the series focused on mental health and the various sub-themes surrounding that, including anxiety, stress and coping mechanisms.
The overall goal of these sessions is to help entrepreneurs recognise the health issues that are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is in addition to equipping them with tools and resources to navigate a new normal.