19 April 2017

Namibia: Stay in Your Economic Lane - Geingos

WHEN you become an entrepreneur, do not try and do everything at the same time but try to be good at what you do and stick to it.

This is the advice that First Lady Monica Geingos gave to students at institutions of higher learning at the launch of the Student Entrepreneurs Programme (SEP) in Windhoek yesterday.

SEP is a programme aimed at deepening students' understanding of business ventures and start-ups, exposing them to venture capital opportunities as well as giving them a chance to explore diverse business ideas.

Geingos, a businesswoman in her own right, said while she has nothing against tenderpreneurship, she is against the lack of transparency as well as the time consuming aspect associated with the process.

She revealed that as an established entrepreneur, she has never been a fan or beneficiary of state procurement.

"Let us stay in our economic lanes. You cannot be submitting tender documents for construction and also when (Government Institutions Pension Fund) GIPF offers tenders for private equity you also submit bids there," she advised, further adding that entrepreneurs should be good at what they choose to do.

"Always be concerned about ethics," she added.

Geingos further advised the students to stay clean when they do business and in whatever else they do.

She said during her time at university (Unam), the entire student representative council (SRC) was suspended over the disappearance of goods for the cultural festival.

Stolen cooldrinks were stuffed under beds, she said.

According to her, most of those SRC members are or have been suspended in their jobs for corruption and other unethical behaviour.

"At your age, do not build wealth that you cannot account for," she said.

Geingos advised the students attending the two-day course that ends today, not to give up on their education.

"Your business can collapse one day but you will always have your qualification to fall back on," she added.

She further said that not every one is meant to be an entrepreneur but some people are meant to work in private and public companies and institutions.

"But you will have a basic understanding and entrepreneurial mind that you are going to apply in your work," she said.

She criticised some people's habbit of contracting 'consultants' to write out business plans for them.

"Outsourcing out a business plan that you cannot explain properly is very problematic. You need to do it yourself," she said.

She further told the participants that when they start even the smallest business, they must respect the legal paper work involved.

"Shareholder agreements are important and are a problem especially in close corporations (CCs). They are very important," she advised.

"Start-ups are not easy. There are a lot of tears involved. It is not the most hard working that wins in business, but the most strategic," she said.

Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi described SEP as her ministry's Harambee Prosperity Plan initiative that seeks to establish networking opportunities for students with existing and successful entrepreneurs and the formal business sector, among other aims.

"This (aim) will be achieved by holding annual student entrepreneur conferences to communicate challenges, new developments, functional matters and to address policy related matters for improved entrepreneurial participation in building the country's economy," she said.

She said SEP will also establish partnerships with the local industry and countries with advanced levels of entrepreneurship and signing MoUs in areas of cooperation as well as introducing annual entrepreneurial awards for motivation.

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