Rural youth enterprises receive financial assistance from Development Bank
Twenty-eight rural youth enterprises recently received funding valued at N$8 million from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN).
A DBN cheque was handed to the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service to provide the kick start to the 28 start-ups at a ceremony officiated over by the Prime Minister, Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila last week.
Speaking about the significance of the initiative at the official hand-over ceremony, the Prime Minister said that the 28 enterprises are part of a wider initiative to provide funding to 121 rural youth enterprises.
She said funding for youth enterprises is an important component of Namibia’s goal to achieve sustainable development, under the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5). The Prime Minister added that the project aims to create 1,210 new, sustainable, permanent jobs.
DBN’s initial involvement consisted of Business Management training, for 407 young people from the 121 rural youth enterprises, an exercise that involved technical support to the tune of N$1.2 million. This exercise also involved helping the youth identify potential business ideas and opportunities in their constituencies and developing business plans for such.
Subsequently, the Bank has made available to the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, N$8 million to finance the start-up of the 28 enterprises.
Speaking on behalf of DBN CEO, Martin Inkumbi, the Bank’s Head of SME Finance, Robert Eiman, said the Bank sees threefold value in the initiative.
Firstly, the Bank has as one of its goals provision of finance for young entrepreneurs. The programme is expected to be a seed for the future of Namibia’s economy. Youth enterprise will be the pool from which it draws its future prosperity and employment creation.
The initiative complements existing Bank programmes that provide skills-based finance to young professionals, and young artisans and finance for other young entrepreneurs through its SME Finance and Investments departments.
Secondly, the Bank believes that rural enterprise is critical to the future of Namibian prosperity and food security. The fact that the beneficiaries are from rural constituencies will add to the attainment of development impact in rural areas.
Thirdly, the Bank is seeking to finance agri-processing, an offshoot of manufacturing, as well as agri-industry which supports agriculture. The agricultural roots of many of the enterprises that will benefit from this initiative will foster secondary value-adding to agriculture.
Development Bank has provided the technical capacity to initiate the programme as well as the funding. The disbursement and administration of finance for the 28 enterprises will be managed by the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Service.
Jerome Mutumba concluded by urging young entrepreneurs to approach the Bank with sustainable business plans to apply for finance as SMEs or to apply for skills-based finance for young artisans or young professionals.