WINDHOEK: Bank Windhoek has awarded loans to more than 80 per cent previously disadvantaged Namibians small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for the past 12 years, with a strong focus to support female entrepreneurs in the country.
Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer for Marketing and Corporate Communication Services Marlize Horn said this at the opening of the three-day Namibia SME Expo here on Wednesday.
Horn added that the Bank has been financing small and medium enterprises through a dedicated SME branch since 2000
Horn added that the majority of the loan portfolio of the SME branch are concentrated in Khomas, Erong, Omusati, Oshikoto, Oshana and Otjozondjupa regions.
She said the successful partnerships between Bank Windhoek and the Erongo Development Foundation as well as the National Youth Council’s Credit for Youth in Business scheme, enables small businesses to benefit from affordable finance and mentoring support.
“We are committed to continue to seek more partnerships like these that benefit the SME sector,” Horn said.
She said the bank has been offering loans to SMEs and much needed mentorship which facilitated by Business Financial Solutions as an important component to the bank’s post-loan assistance.
Horn noted that with the high unemployment rate, Namibia is in dire need of dynamic and successful entrepreneurs who can also contribute to the economic growth of the country.
She said Bank Windhoek and its partner are bale to make greater impact in the growth and development in the SME market.
Speaking at the same occasion, First National bank of Namibia’s Head of SME Division Robert Eiman said FNB has established a SME lending division to specifically provide access to financing for start-ups, expansions, management buy-outs and management buy-ins for entrepreneurs who have practical and bankable business plans and who can demonstrate management skills to put these ideas into practice.
As a result of this and over a period of four years, Eiman said the bank has provided start up and expansion capital to over 700 SMEs.
“While there is always room for improvement, this proves that our SME strategy to assist SME with credit and banking products linked to training and requisite skills development is bearing great result as demonstrated by number of SMEs that remains in businesses thereby creating wealth the much needed jobs,” he said.
Bank Windhoek, Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), and First National Bank of Namibia are the main sponsors of the 7th Namibia SME Expo.
The Expo ends on Friday.