Yesterday was commemorated as a Micro, Small and Medium-sized (MSMEs) Enterprises Day. On the occasion, the Manager for MSME Ecosystem Optimisation at the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, Claudia Capelao, wrote an opinion piece, stating that often small businesses are touted as the backbone of the economy.
One would hope that “we’d do all we can to keep this spine intact because in today’s rapidly evolving economic landscape, MSMEs and startups play a pivotal role in driving economic growth and hold immense potential for employment creation and improving the standard of living for all Namibians”.
Capelaosaid to fully unlock this potential, it is imperative for business support organisations to collaborate.
She explained that aligning priorities, sharing resources, and pooling data can empower Namibian MSMES, expand the reach and sustainability of entrepreneurship support initiatives.
Capelaopointed out that it is bad enough that MSMEs face difficulties in starting and managing their own businesses, and the prevalence of an uncoordinated ecosystem only serves to further handicap them.
“Real, measurable and sustainable impact will only be achieved by adopting an inclusive approach that is entrepreneur-centre,” she wrote.
Capelao stated that in the pursuit of bolstering Namibian MSMEs, sharing resources is important instead of duplicating efforts and operating in isolation, it is essential for organisations to collaborate and create a comprehensive support ecosystem.
“By pooling our expertise, infrastructure, and funding, we can maximise our collective impact while minimising redundancies.”
While collaboration allows for a more efficient allocation of resources, she said it ius important to ensure that limited resources are utilised effectively to reach a broader spectrum of entrepreneurs across the country.
Furthermore, informed decision-making lies at the core of effective MSME support, she said.
“At present there is a fragmented approach to conducting research on MSMEs resulting in each individual organisation holding a piece of a puzzle.”
Capelao advised that instead of each organisation collecting and analysing data individually, collaboration allows for the collective sourcing and sharing of data.
She further said the collaborative approach enables business support organisations to identify support gaps in the country.
“It is vital for us to dismantle the silo mentality and embrace a collective mindset to better serve the needs of Namibian MSMEs” she wrote.
By sharing resources, expanding the reach, and collectively sourcing data, the country can optimise its efforts, foster sustainable entrepreneurship support, and empower Namibian MSMES to thrive, she wrote.
Bank Windhoek’s Head of SME, Financial and Data Analytics, Bianca Van Vuuren reiterated the pivotal role of SMEs in shaping the country.
She said despite facing various challenges, Namibian SMEs have proven their resilience and ability to innovate, remaining a vital source of new job opportunities.
“Their agility and close connection with local communities also make them a crucial platform for empowering women and the youth, resonating with the global theme for MSME Day 2023” Van Vuurenwrote.
He said theMSME Day serves as an essential beacon, highlighting the immense contributions of SMEs to economies and societies worldwide; and emphasises their transformational potential and the need for inclusive, sustainable support systems.
Van Vuuren highlighted that Namibia is well-positioned to capitalise on the strengths of its SME sector, saying the country needs to acknowledge the power and potential of SMEs by nurturing and supporting them.
“We can unlock a brighter future filled with innovation, economic growth, and abundant opportunities for all Namibians,” she said.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 27 June as MSMEs Enterprises Day to raise awareness of the tremendous contributions of MSMEs to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations said that MSMEs account for 90% of businesses, 60 to 70% of employment and 50% of Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) worldwide. Email: email@example.com