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NBD to invest N$2,8m to graduates

by Jeremiah Ndjoze


The Namibia Business Drive (NBD), a recently established business advocacy body, has unveiled plans to launch the Entrepreneurs Sales Bursary Program as a direct response to Government’s continued call for corporate Namibia’s involvement in the country’s quest for economic emancipation.

The NDB is driven by organised business partners LSS, Starlite Wholesale, Energy100 FM, G4S Security Company, Billboard News Press, Bonlife Insurance, Channel 7 as well as Business Risk Solutions and Karnic Distributors.  
Through the program, which will be sponsored by local company Labour Skills Solutions (PTY) Ltd, the organisation will bankroll business loans with close to N$3m to 75 successful Grade 12 school leavers.

The money will be bankrolled over a period of three years and each year the organisation will sponsor 25 youths.
The NBD, a non-profit making organisation, seeks to promotion investment in Namibia by putting particular emphasis on promoting business amongst previously disadvantaged communities.

The idea, according to NBD’s Director, Japie Vermeulen, was also mooted to scale down the country’s 52% unemployment rate and to spearhead truly Namibian businesses whose proceeds are retained for the economic development of the country.
“Not everybody who matriculates gets a job or qualifies for tertiary education. The fact that there are not many other opportunities, school leavers either remain at their homes frustrated or opt to leave the country for work in other countries. By exporting labour, we are also exporting part of our country’s economy,” Vermeulen says.

From January next year, current Namibian Grade 12 students who will not have made it to university or other institutions of higher learning, and who will submit bankable business plans stand a chance to be selected as beneficiaries of the bursary program.
Each recipient will get a bursary worth N$38 000 that will cover a sales action plan, support program and expert sales management training.
This money, however, will not be deposited directly into the recipients’ bank accounts but comes in form of sales training, support system and formulation of a sales action plan for the young entrepreneurs before they become independent.
“The idea is to raise Namibian entrepreneurs who are rooted in Namibia and who are going to base their business operations in the country and help build the economy,” Vermeulen adds.
He lamented the fact that to date many businesses operating within Namibia are based in South Africa and all their monies are invested across the Orange River.

“What remains here is money that goes towards operating costs like rent, electricity, wages and other overheads. Namibia is 67% the size of South Africa but the money that Namibia generates is only 2% of South Africa’s revenue because the majority of companies here are South African owned,” Vermeulen says with concern.

This situation, he says, is brought about by the shortage of business skills in the country. “Many Namibians see themselves as employees rather than employers and instead of launching their own small and medium enterprises they prefer to sit around waiting for a job to open and that is where this bursary program comes in,” Vermeulen says.
The bursary recipients will be given training that will see them coming up with workable Sales Action Plans which will be followed by a Sales Action Plan Implementation Support program.

In the compilation of Sales Action Plans, according to Vermeulen the recipients will come up with sales target structuring and planning recommendation and sales team recruitment strategies. There will be expected to come up with sales activity management strategies and management tools as well as personalized business “exit” strategies amongst others.
Upon completion of their Sales Action Plans the NBD will provide the business people with guidance on a day to day basis. This package includes 24 hours telephonic assistance even if during after hours. Email support as well as monthly two hour on-site plan execution assessment sessions.

“We will also do company SWOT analysis on site with the entrepreneurs while assisting with the companies’ unique selling points amongst other factors,” Vermeulen further says.