The Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) held its first Good Business Award to recognise exemplary clients and businesspeople making a difference in their lives and of the local communities.
Present at the ceremony held in the capital last Week, deputy minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein applauded the initiative, which shows the outstanding performance the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector has been working on as well as the potential it has for the growth of the economy.
“Indeed, we have witnessed businesses grow to date. Recent estimates indicate that there are over 70 000 businesses in Namibia; roughly one for every 30 people in the country. The steady growth in business over the past 23 years is testimony to a fine tradition of collective effort to grow the economy,” he said.
He, however, noted that the binding constraints that the SMEs still face in order to prosper are also recognised.
Challenges such as the duration in which to register a business and skills shortages still need to be curbed, the deputy minister said.
The Good Business Award was divided into three categories, with the primary category being the SME with the winning cup awarded to Karakula Weavers owned by Moses Helao from Swakopmund.
The second category was Larger Enterprises: The winner was the International University Management (IUM) with Virginia Namwandi, the Vice Chancellor of the University receiving the prize Sustainable Enterprises constituted the third category with the winning cup in that category awarded to NamPost for its affordability and modern financial services.
The award considered criteria such as permanent jobs created, contribution to broad based, black empowerment, community initiatives that also support business and financial management.
DBN chairperson, Eliza Angula, encouraged all the winners to keep on empowering themselves as well as the nation.
She also pointed out that traditionally, development in the African continent is associated with aid; “The sustainability of the traditional handout and trickle down models is, however, increasingly under scrutiny, as aid to vulnerable communities has decreased significantly with the onset of the global financial crisis.”
On that matter, Schleittwein also emphasised that the African continent needs to stay away from its dependency in foreign aid and rather focus on creating its own industries, develop its own infrastructure and invest in its people in order to realise sustained growth.