Schoolwear retail outlet opens its doors
Namibia’s manufacturing capacity to participate in distribution and retailing needs to be accelerated to deliver equitable benefits of economic growth, additional job opportunities and equitable wealth sharing to all Namibians according to the Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Calle Schlettwein. The minister said this at the official opening of the Schooltex and Sportwear retail outlet in Town Square in Windhoek earlier this week. Schooltex and Sportwear CC. is part of M&M Innovations, a Namibian garment manufacturing company of school, sport and safety wear owned by businesswoman Beauty Mathupi. The company was supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry under the scheme aiming to encourage investment in value addition and local production as of the ‘Growth at Home’ strategy. Founded in 2001 with just six employees and lacking funding, the company now boasts a staff complement of 83 permanent staff, two factories, a dispatch factory and a warehouse. Schlettwein said, “Barely a year after the Ministry launched the ‘Growth at Home’ strategy we are already bearing fruits of its success by officially opening the first retail outlet that will sell locally produced garment under the brand, M&M demonstrated that with hard work, “Growth at Home” is achievable and can be translated into tangible results.”
He said that Namibia cannot afford to forgo economic gains and income as a result of the lack of value addition at home, export of job opportunities to countries were value is added, and the exposure to risks due to dependence on the exhaustible commodities and fluctuations in demand and price. Speaking to the Economist Mathupi said she was excited that her personal dream of being part of the industrialization of Namibia had been realised. “Its been a long time coming, as we had a lot of challenges that included the procurement of raw materials to make finished goods and also the market was not really responding well to our products as we did not have a retail shop.” “We sold our products directly to the schools which was a challenge as some of the parents were sceptical about buying uniforms directly from us,” she added. Mathupi said she feels the attitude towards her products will change now that she has opened a retail shop and even plans to open another shop in March next year. The ministry has throughout the years supported M&M innovations with support services ranging from participation in international exhibitions, sourcing exposure to China for competitive industrial inputs, provision of production equipment and has through the Sites and Premises and rental support programme has secured a space for them to enter the retail market.