Namibia: SMEs obtain financing for resilience to Covid

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Keetmanshoop – To help entrepreneurs recover from Covid-19, Compete SMEs gave 20 small business owners the opportunity to present their products to a panel of referees for possible funding.

One of the participants, Didi Skeyer, is the owner of Didi’s Trading Enterprises and said she started her cosmetology business which includes hairdressing, makeup and nail embellishment in 1994.

“At first I employed five people, but I had to lay off three of them due to the impact of the coronavirus,” she explained.

Skeyer added that the pandemic resulted in a reduction in the number of customers due to financial constraints, forcing him to shut down his business for two months.

Fortunately, business is now resuming with reduced contraction and mortality statistics as well as relaxed Covid-19 regulations.

If there are no clients, then I am sitting with no income for myself and my two employees, hence the decision to go to clients who need our services, making it a ‘win-win’ situation. – winning “in the end,” she noted. .

The entrepreneur said the time between September and December is normally when she gets more clients and business due to higher demand for her services and products, as most weddings and church confirmations take place during this period.

She thus encouraged the unemployed to never give up hope, even if it can be difficult to first become an employee and then employer of others.

“I started by obtaining a national diploma in cosmetology and in addition, I obtained the accreditation as a holder of the recognition of prior learning, now allowing me to train other people,” she said. . Skeyer added that although the competition is tough in its trait, customer demand is still there, supporting his business.

Edwin Jacobs, owner of Youth Pride Funerals, also presented at the event, which later informed New Era that contrary to the popular assumption that funeral directors have made a lot of money from deaths linked to Covid- 19, this is unfortunately not always the case with small businesses like his.

“Surviving family members sometimes prefer to use bigger and popular brands in the industry, which really affects us negatively,” he said.

He said their main business is providing affordable funeral packages to provide those who have died with a decent funeral, as well as making caskets on a very small scale.

“I started my business in 2018 after seeing the need for people who cannot afford expensive funeral services for loved ones,” Jacobs added.

He explained that his biggest challenge is that employees are unwilling to deal with the remains of those who have died from illnesses linked to Covid-19 for fear of contracting the illness.

“On that basis, I now employ two permanent and two temporary at this point,” said the businessman.

Jacobs also urged unemployed youth to adopt best practices when traveling to Namibia and bring them back to the // Kharas region by securing funding or starting small.

PME Compete is a social entrepreneurship entity that helps SMEs develop their businesses and create jobs. It has developed a range of services focused on capacity building, growth and skills development.

Around 270 participants will receive grants in 14 regions of the country, for which more than N $ 4 million has been disbursed to date.

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