Zula festival brings Gobabis’ Freedom Square residents up to speed with running their own small businesses
Some five hundred residents of the Freedom Square informal settlement in Gobabis came together this past weekend for a business festival with a special flavour – upskilling and upscaling.
The Start-up Festival was hosted by the Financial Literacy Initiative in cooperation with the Gobabis Municipality with the purpose to help micro-entrepreneurs grow their small, usually home-based enterprises into slightly bigger operations serving more clients. The festival’s theme was “Own your Zula.”
“Many of the informal settlement dwellers are involved in some form of income generating activity. Supporting them is essential to improve the local economy of the settlement and address unemployment through business creation,” stated the Financial Literacy Initiative when it first announced the festival.
The festival served as a platform for participants to learn about upscaling their existing businesses and new ways to create alternative sources of income to improve the local informal economy by growing the footprint of each and every small business.
Presidential Advisor, Daisry Mathias told a very keen audience that they, the youth, are a priority target to assist them with business skills so that they can take a more pro-active approach to generate their own incomes.
Technical sessions dealing with the nuts and bolts of starting and running a small business were conducted in parallel workshops. A number of panel discussions revolved around making the concept ‘Own your Zula’ work for the business owner. Amongst others, the discussions dealt with failure, managing a small business, managing one’s personal finances and incorporating new creative ideas in the way the business is run.
Concluding the very successful festival was a pitching competition in which nine individuals had the opportunity to pitch their business plans on the big stage against the criteria what the impact is, first for Freedom Square, and then for Gobabis.
For the winner, N$6,000 and a computer were at stake while the second and third best pitches also won their owners a computer each. All nine pitchers received a N$1000 incentive.