Helping small entrepreneurs with big dreams

Albertus Nel’s company, TimberWorld and Joinery employs 75 employees. Here he is pictured with some of his staff members at his workshop.

The significance of small and medium enterprises (SME) in creating employment can not be over-emphasised as demonstrated by TimberWorld and Joinery. The three-year old SME employs between 60 to 75 employees, 21 of whom are permanent, 49 on fixed term contracts, and five sub-contracted.
TimberWorld and Joinery mainly manufactures built-in cupboards for kitchens and bedrooms, but also produces solid wood furniture, laminated flooring, office furniture and other products as per the clients’ requests.

The company was started in 2005 by Albertus Nel on a part-time basis, but closed down in 2009, due to growing commitments in his permanent job as a Deputy Divisional Manager in the retail sector.
In 2012, he took the bold decision to resign from his job to fully pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur in the carpentry and joinery industry. When he re-opened the business, the main challenge was to find qualified and skilled people in the trade and also to make a footprint in the competitive Namibian carpentry and joinery market, but he believed in his vision to make a success of his passion. With the help of his team, the company has since gone from strength to strength.
“The business is doing well and we have had two big projects last year. We are currently busy with various projects and some are in the final stages of completion. I am very proud of my team as they are very hard working and understand the importance of meeting deadlines. Our positive attitude towards our customers has also contributed to the success of the business.”
“Customer service is lacking and companies don’t seem to care about going the extra mile for a customer.
“This is something that Namibian companies need to address; especially SME’s who still have to establish themselves. Your attitude toward your customers can make or break your business,” Nel said.
Having been a Bank Windhoek customer for the past 22 years, he naturally approached Bank Windhoek ESME Finance Branch in 2013 for an SME loan to purchase his own machinery. “Bank Windhoek has been very helpful and I’m very grateful for their assistance and the path that they have walked with us and for being involved and always ready to help if needed.”
Though it is a challenge to find affordable property or land to build a warehouse in Windhoek, Nel still has plans to expand and take his company to a higher level by offering a one-stop shop where he can provide his extensive clientele with a wide range of carpentry services. This will also include a showroom for his solid wood furniture.
Advising fellow SME’s, he said, “We can only learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we will make mistakes, but in everything we do, there is a lesson to be learned. Young entrepreneurs need to do their homework and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and also what they want to present to the market.”
Mbo Luvindao, Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance Branch Manager said aspiring entrepreneurs have no excuse for not attempting to turn their dreams into reality. Bank Windhoek will consider viable and sustainable business proposals that add value to the local economy.