Xwama’s Pewa instrumental in keeping new entrepreneurs on the bank’s good book
A second-had tyre dealer, Leonie Syed-Samiullah (centre), made the common but crucial mistake in her own business of living out of the till. Seeing the damage it did to the longevity of her business, she knocked on Nedbank’s door where SME mentoring has become a key element of finding new commercial clients and helping them grow.
Head of Nedbank’s SME Business unit, Nelson Simasiku (right) elaborated, “Taking the leap to become an entrepreneur can be a daunting task. People have the skills to be productive but that they don’t necessarily have the tools or backing to make their vision a reality in the long run. There is an SME banker at every Nedbank branch who will assist you to open the necessary accounts, and provide documentation of accounts that you may need to register your business. The SME Banker will also assist you to set up a personal balance sheet that will be used to determine the amount of finance that Nedbank can provide for you.”
A critical component of successful mentoring, is obviously the mentor. To this end, Nedbank’s SME Business unit engaged seasoned Katutura businesswoman, Pewa Khadikwa (left) of the very successful Xwama Cultural Village. Pewa has been running a mentorship programme for several years with many current young entrepreneurs finding their first guidance from this business icon.
A Swakopmund entrepreneur in the tourism industry, Heinrich Nghidipaya said he found the mentoring programme very informative. “It is very good. As a businessman, I learned a lot of skills how to survive. [Pewa] taught us many principles and the ethics how to run a business. Twapewa is a leading brand in the country. So, you learn from an established person.”
According to Leonie, the biggest lesson she learned from the programme was the financial aspect. It completely reshaped the way she views and deals with her business finances. “Financially, it has benefitted me in such a way that I can now identify my mistakes from the past and rectify it.”
“I had no track record of where the money was going. Although one keeps receipts, they sometimes go missing,” she said. As the business owner, she never drew a salary., thinking this was normal but after completing the SME programme she has changed her whole manner of doing business.
Reflecting on the success of its SME mentoring, Nedbank said it is non-negotiable. The mentorship programme runs over six months with one full-day mentor mentee exchange once a month. An approved toolkit is offered to each participant, in a simulated environment that is business-friendly, allowing for a personal learning experience.