Nedbank Namibia, in collaboration with OMDis and Uconomy Namibia, has completed the Small Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Economic Development Pilot Project, which aims to diversify Oranjemund’s economic activities.
In November 2021, Nedbank Namibia, OMDis, and Uconomy Namibia agreed to collaborate on this project to support and promote SME development. Since then, the project has produced exciting designs that will undoubtedly diversify the economy of Oranjemund.
An online marketplace, business listings and profiles, blog functionality, a labour desk, a ticketing system, project- and task-tracking, and a member login access level are all part of these designs.
At least 53 SMEs from 16 industries have gone through this process in order to effectively integrate, familiarize themselves with, and benefit from the products and services provided by this project.
Only two SMEs (out of 53 total) have their own websites. The system implemented by Nedbank Namibia, OMDis, and Uconomy Namibia is set to change this by providing SMEs with website hosting and an online marketplace for their products and services.
As the pilot project discovered an overwhelming need for accounting and tax support, the new project will also cater to automated governance and registration guidance.
“As a source of innovation and an economic engine, the success of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can fuel a greater economic recovery due to their innovative and opportunity-seeking nature,” says Selma Kaulinge of Nedbank Namibia. They do, however, require additional assistance. We recognize that this collaborative effort is still in its early stages, but the evidence provided by the pilot project thus far may lead to its implementation in other regions of Namibia.”
The initiative also aims to bridge the expertise gap by giving SMEs access to a network of local suppliers and clients. They will also be linked to various membership platforms providing development support access. “It is also critical to invest in long-term structural reforms like digital and financial inclusion, as well as the development of entrepreneurial skill capacity,” Kaulinge said.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an essential economic role in many developing and developed countries around the world. According to the National Statistics Agency (NSA), the SME sector in Namibia contributed more than 13 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2012.
Based on a pilot study of 61,502 establishments between October 2019 and April 2021, the March 2022 NSA Census of Business Establishment report confirms that SMEs play an important role in the country. The Business Establishment Census’ primary goal was to provide detailed information about the structural and demographic characteristics of business establishments. According to the findings, the majority of establishments—approximately 55,800 (90.7%)—are classified as micro establishments, followed by approximately 3,900+ small establishments (6.4%) and 1,400+ medium-sized establishments (2.3%). Only 345 people, or 0.6% of those studied, are considered large.
Despite the high presence of SMEs in Namibia, these small businesses continue to face significant challenges due to a lack of capital, poor economic conditions, COVID-19, and a lack of access to information. Local businesses are mostly self-funded, but they are eager for growth capital.
According to the Southern African Business Review, SMEs in Namibia have a high failure rate; according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the possibility of business discontinuation is four times higher than the rate of established business activity.
As a result, initiatives like the one launched in Oranjemund are critical in assisting local businesses in breaking free from their market niches. It will help them prepare for the expansion needed to meet the demands of servicing emerging markets, making it a catalyst for growth and success on much larger platforms across the country.