Let’s collaborate to create SMEs – Matthews
Bringing the narrative closer to home, Nedbank Namibia Managing Director, Lionel Matthews, at a recent platform uttered the words ‘I have a passion’ in a session where he mentored and engaged with some of Namibia’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners.
Expounding further on the passion he has for unlocking the growth potential of the SME sector in Namibia, Matthews shared that growing SMEs is important for the nation because it leads to the creation of an inclusive economy, it creates fair economic opportunities, and contributes to solving the youth unemployment problem. “This in turn leads to our national peace, stability and prosperity,” he said.
The SME session where Matthews engaged the SME owners is part of a Mentorship Programme offered by businesswoman and Nedbank SME Ambassador, Twapewa Kadhikwa. The session took place at Xwama Restaurant and the group of SME owners consisted of risk management consultants, retailers, beef product manufacturers, graphic designers and several others.
“We need to collaborate to create an environment in which SMEs can thrive and this requires a national holistic approach. This means creating support around SMEs to close every gap on capacity. For example, it is the responsibility of big corporates who rely on SMEs for service provision to be quicker in paying such SMEs once the service is delivered because SMEs operate on limited resources. In the same breath, those of us at the leadership of financial institutions need to look at how we can enable SMEs to have access to finance by putting competition aside. We need to mitigate the risk for SMEs to fail,” Matthews said.
Citing education as the key to the success on pretty much everything in life, Matthewes encouraged the group of dynamic SME owners to take the future in their own hands, and to continuously knock on the doors of the people they believe can help them.
“It’s very important in the early days of your business to control the financials. Learn to separate your business finances from your personal finances. If you don’t understand something, engage those with the expertise on that specific subject and let them guide you,” he advised.
In addition, Matthews called for the SME owners to educate themselves of the risks involved in the type of businesses they choose to venture into because “you can not be in business and not take risk.”
“You can only change your life when you acquire skills and the type of knowledge that is in demand. You need to put in the hard work. Try and optimize the thing that will bring in the capital. The one who normally takes the opportunity owns it,” he told the group.