Bank Windhoek last week announced its partnership with the Katuka Mentorship Programme. At the event, Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Affairs Hayley Allen said empowering women who are in business is the reason for supporting the Katuka Mentorship Programme and it is the perfect fit for the bank.
Allen noted the bank is a partner for growth for women entrepreneurs both personally and professionally. "We are proud to be a conduit to the relationship that mentors and mentees will be building over the coming year. As we journey together in this partnership, we hope everyone who is involved in this process reaches her full potential. Our challenge to you is that you see obstacles as opportunities to re-orientate your thinking and that you move forward a little wiser," she said. Katuka is a mentorship programme launched in July 2001 by the late Lena Markus, former Businesswoman of the year 2000 in the Corporate/Professional category. The programme aims to empower and encourage entrepreneurs, business and professional women to achieve success in their careers through mentorship by seasoned business and professional women. It is a method of advancement, which provides support and training through relationship building.
Desèré Lundon-Muller, the organiser of the Economist Businesswomen projects, emphasised that the programme is about matching a mentee and mentor with a similar interest to help businesswomen to successfully run their businesses and reach their full potential.
Currently in its 19th year, the Katuka Mentorship Programme has already produced significant results in the careers of the participating mentees. To date, 373 entrepreneurs and businesswomen have completed the programme. Allen stated the bank believes women have a critical role to play in economies over the world.
She said women have been carving out careers for themselves and have boldly started their business ventures. While these endeavours may have started with the purpose of supporting their families, Namibian women have found their voice. "They speak to their passions and are taking control of their future. A few years ago, Bank Windhoek researched female entrepreneurs. We found that from a financial services point of view, women had their own particular set of challenges they had to overcome. We learned that you needed support for your ideas, understanding of your businesses and help when you wanted your venture to grow. We understood your need to be taken seriously - and from these, our Women in Business offering was born in 2018," she concluded.