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Entrepreneur’s needs on show

Namibia needs entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs have needs too, says SMEs Compete, a social entrepreneurship firm that provides business growth support to the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
Although widely acknowledged as Namibia’s engine for growth, are the needs of small businesses being addressed? According to SMEs Compete director, Danny Meyer, only partially so.
“Much has been done in terms of helping entrepreneurs access funding. For example two commercial banks operate dedicated SME Business Units and the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) also provides support to SMEs,” says Meyer, adding “More recently government established an SME Bank.”
With entrepreneurs finding it easier to secure business loans, what then about the other and equally important need?
Meyer’s co-director, Claudine Mouton, says SMEs Compete’s contribution to addressing other needs has resulted in the staging of Namibia SME Expo ’13 and two side events running parallel to the exposition.
Run for the eighth consecutive year, the expo puts Namibia’s SME sector under the spotlight. It takes place in the capital city next week from 31 July to 2 August and provides SMEs with an opportunity to showcase goods and services on offer. It also helps small firms forge market linkages with public and private sector customers.
Mouton says an SME Service Providers Seminar on 1 August provides a platform for banks, other financial service providers, business sector representative bodies and institutions to reintroduce their business growth support services.
“Then on 2 August at another side event a panel of entrepreneurs will share their recipe for success and perhaps even secrets with newcomers to the business arena,” adds Mouton.
Meyer says only 80 exhibitors from around Namibia can be accommodated at the expo.
 “Seventy stands are for SMEs and the remaining 10 for the three banks First National Bank, Bank Windhoek and the Development Bank who provide three quarters of the funding to stage the event, Business Support Organizations including the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Namibian Employers Federation and a few non-governmental organizations with a wealth and job creation focus, like Women at Work and Men on The Side of the Road,” adds Meyer.

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