SME owner takes advantage of tourism niche – offers authentic township culture
By Natasha Jacha
A local entrepreneur, Dina Namubes offers tourists a view of cultures unique to the township, through her hospitality business, African View Accommodation, situated in Swakopmund.
The business which is run by Namubes in partnership with her husband Melvin Namubeb provides a perfect template for small business owners and according to them, it is an affordable bed and breakfast/self-catering home.
The idea of the business came about when a tourist from abroad suggested to Namubes to open a bed and breakfast in Swakopmund’s Mondesa neighbourhood and since then the business has been able to offer a unique feel in the industry.
“I realised that people from all over the world like Africa more and more and are coming to Namibia to enjoy the quietness, beauty and open landscapes,” said Namubes.
According to her SMEs contribute approximately 12% to the local GDP annually and approximately 33,000 local SMEs provide over 160,000 jobs.
“In many ways, African View Accommodation provides a perfect template for small business owners,” she added.
In 2008 their business consisted of a single room that they offered to tourists. They now have seven rooms, offer shuttle services between the Swakopmund airport and the town on request, and ferry guests around on sightseeing tours.
Meanwhile the partners described African View Accommodation is a very peaceful and friendly home and accommodation is offered in comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Like any other business, the industry is plagued by challenges and according to Namubes, public and private spending cuts for travel and conferences are one of the issues now affecting the sector.
“However, we are still surviving from our repeating customers, those getting to the coast for functions, funerals and simply those who feel like booking at our place as a getaway for the weekend. Also, local people book our breathtaking venue for meetings and functions,” she said.
Namubes is full of praise for Nedbank Namibia, describing it as one of the best experiences in her business life even though she did not approach a bank for a loan to start her business.
Nelson Simasiku, the head of SME Business at Nedbank Namibia said access to finance or funding alone is not sufficient for the growth and development of the SME Sector and Nedbank goes above and beyond by offering a suite of services and value-added solutions to enable SMEs to grow faster, easier and more effectively.
Those value-added services provided by Nedbank include practical mentorship, small business seminars, short-term insurance and financial planning.
“We have five employees and proud that we put something on the table for someone. This helps in decreasing unemployment rate and helps fighting poverty in Namibia,” said Namubes.
As African View Accommodation grows and blossoms as a business in Namibia’s holiday Mecca, Swakopmund, the Namubeb family is building a campsite near Namibia’s first World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein, in the Kunene Region.