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Taking SMEs one step further


by Honorine Kaze
Business

 

Hermanus Otto, owner of Quick Printing was lucky to receive expert advice on how to take his business to higher level from Charles Bongaerts, a Programma Uitzending Managers (PUM) expert.
PUM which is Dutch for Manager Deployment Programme Netherland senior experts is a non-profit organisation that has been advising SMEs in developing countries and emerging markets for over 30 years.  
They work in every field from logistics to welding techniques and from hotel and catering trade to carpentry.
Otto will also receive equipments and technical advice on how to use them for his business.
 “I think for all the years I have been in the business, my mindset is changed now, I am more positive and confident. I started my business making rubber stamps in 2003 now it is a printing business based in Katutura. However, it is now time to make it even bigger and prosperous,” Otto points out.
Quick Printing specialises in business cards, letter-heads, brochures, programmes, newsletters and any other related services from off-set to digital printing.
 PUM Bongaerts senior expert was on a two week workshop in Namibia to advise Namibian SMEs on how to strengthen themselves.
“It was a pleasure for me to be here and take SMEs such as Quick Printing through a short course. If SMEs are in dire need of direction and expert advice on how to empower themselves, they only have to apply for our assistance and we bring in what is needed even financial assistance,” Bongaerts says.
 Otto adds that following the consultancy with the senior expert, he understands the power of a strong business plan, structures, marketing and working capital and what it can do for a business.
“Some of the business people in the country have good ideas but do not bring their businesses to full capacity because they do not have proper planning and do not do the right marketing,” Otto points out.    
Currently, Otto operates from the SME Incubator Centre in Katutura but as per agreement with the SME incubator policy, he can only operate from there for three years.
Natasha Williams-Phatela, PUM local representative says their organisation has brought technical assistance and sometimes monetary assistance to at least 20 projects  every year in Namibia in the past 10 years.
“Namibia is recognised as an upper medium earning country hence PUM funds are going to run until 2014. Currently, we are in a transitional phase while looking for other alternatives,” Williams-Phatela points out.
In this instance, PUM is looking at involving more local partners and organisations to carry the mission of empowering Namibian SMEs.