Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: Record Female Entrepreneurs Hone Business Skills

A record 533 entrepreneurs and their staff attended the 56 business skills development courses presented by SME Compete last year, says the firm's director, Danny Meyer.

Meyer says this represents a 12% increase in the number of courses presented over last year. The number of attendees grew by an even more impressive 37%. In calendar year 2011 SME Compete presented 50 courses around Namibia attended by 388.

According to Meyer, Bookkeeping and Record Keeping again proved to be SMEs Compete's most popular course. Presented 11 times the course was attended by 92, of which 61 were females and 31 males.

"SMEs Compete's training interventions are Namibian in content and character, developed in-house drawing on experience gained and based on needs of entrepreneurs identified, from routinely working with SMEs," says Meyer.

He goes on to point out that groups are deliberately kept small to foster a coaching approach, encourage full participation and as a way to introduce SMEs Compete's approach to business mentorship.

Interactive in nature, Meyer says training specifically caters for entrepreneurs who have been through the mill, as far as starting and running business goes. "SMEs Compete's courses are attractive to those in business who might not have had the benefit of much formal education," adds Meyer.

With the headquarters in Windhoek, SMEs Compete is a social entrepreneurship entity established seven years ago on 01 March 2006 that operates branches in Ongwediva, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

The social entrepreneurship firm's other director, Claudine Mouton, who co-founded SMEs Compete with Meyer could not hide her excitement. She pointed out that females rule the roost when it comes to honing business skills.

"Of the total number of course attendees 64.5% or 344 were female," says Mouton, adding "Entrepreneurs cite the lack of business know-how as one of the main obstacles to growing business and we are delighted to see that women in business are doing something about it."

Ending the interview on a sad note, Mouton and Meyer expressed sympathy to the family of the Late Abraham Iyambo and to the Nation.

"The late Abraham Iyambo was not only a dedicated and inspirational leader, but also a supporter of entrepreneurship. We fondly recall him touring stands, chatting to the entrepreneurs and even buying products on display, after officially opening the 2011 edition of the Namibia SME Expo on 03 August of that year," says Meyer.

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