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Celebrating six years of SME support

Guests arriving at one of the Katutura-based enterprises (Photograph contributed)Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Compete, a local firm which assists small and medium businesses, celebrated its sixth anniversary last Thursday. For the celebration, the firm took clients, benefactors, corporate leaders, public sector officials and  international development agency representatives on an outing.
According to Danny Meyer, director of SMEs Compete, they arranged a tour around Windhoek’s well established and resourced central business district and then took the guests to see the opposite end of the entrepreneurial spectrum, enterprises in Katurura’s high density suburb.
“Due to the high number of guests the group had to be split in two and this curtailed the time they got to spend actually visiting small businesses in Katutura,” adds Meyer.
At a ceremony, SMEs Compete also recognised two seasoned entrepreneurs, Navin Morar and Joachim Sturm, for their unwavering support over the past six years since the firm was established. Both were presented with artistic creations of upcoming local artist, Werner Mouton.
At the same occasion, Roswitha Ntlhokwe was recognised as the employee of the year. Ntlhokwe is also SMEs Compete’s longest serving employee.
Meyer said that, looking back, SMEs Compete has certainly made a mark over the last six years, growing from humble beginnings in the basement area of NCCI’s premises in Windhoek West to an entity with four offices and 15 employees across the country.
The firm, which derives most of its funding from Namibia’s corporate sector, has developed in-house business growth programmes which are tailored to meet the specific needs of local emerging and budding entrepreneurs.
Meyer says SMEs Compete’s programmes for the year include over 50 business skills courses, 12 market access events, 10 entrepreneurial dialogue sessions and six observational tours that aim to foster business linkages.
“This is in addition to routine mentorship sessions, assistance with marketing material design, one-on-one bookkeeping tutorials and complimentary business growth and employment creation interventions,” said co-director, Claudine Mouton.
The journey has not been easy, but Mouton and Meyer believe their work with the backbone of Namibia’s economy, the SME sector, is not yet done.
“After all it is small enterprises who created the wealth and jobs that provided countries in South East Asia and Latin America with double digit economic growth,” says Meyer.
With the encouragement of the then chief executive of First National Bank, the late Lazarus Ipangelwa, Danny Meyer and Claudine Mouton started SMEs Compete on 1 March 2006. The social entrepreneurship firm provides business growth support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) all over Namibia.

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