By Business Reporter
THE National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) and the SME Bank Limited (SME Bank) have partnered to support Namibia’s SME sector through the intensification of research, development, mentorship and business development support programmes. The two organisations formalised their partnership through signing a memorandum of understanding with a view to increase the participation of SMEs in the formal economy.
The collaboration between NCRST and SME Bank recognises the need to engage and collaborate, and will bridge the existing gap experienced by SMEs in transforming their ideas and proposals into bankable businesses and enterprises that can be funded by commercial banks. “Our approach will be deliberate, and will support the Government’s strategic intent to develop and harness human resource capacity, to contribute towards employment creation and SME driven economic growth, propelled by the youth. In this regards, we believe both the NCRST and SME Bank have a role to play in contributing to the sub-pillar of Youth Enterprise Development under the Harambee Prosperity Plan,” said Dr Eino Mvula, CEO of the NCRST. With the agreement now in place, the activities to be supported will include the promotion and implementation of the following programmes: an Entrepreneurship Development Programme; a Business Linkages Programme which links SMEs to large corporate/commercial companies to further their growth and development; the up-scaling of NCRST funded innovation projects that demonstrate potential for growth; a programme that bridges support for SME Bank applicants to enhance their bankability through Research and Development; and any other strategic Flagship Programme as agreed upon by the two institutions.
Implementation of the activities will be undertaken through a Joint Technical Committee comprising representatives from both institutions. The Entrepreneurship Development Programme will be launched in early August.
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