By Business Reporter
ASPIRING entrepreneurs, and youthful small and medium-sized (SME) enterprise owners, were left inspired and more motivated than ever before to make a success of their ventures, after their attendance at the first-ever Startup Grind networking session last Thursday.
Sponsored by Standard Bank, in collaboration with Startup Grind Windhoek, the event saw Standard Bank’s Head of Enterprise Banking, Dennis Isaacs, and Leap Holdings Group Managing Director, Ally Angula, inspire the attendees with invaluable insights on how to make a new business a resounding success.
Startup Grind is a global community established to educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs. Founded in Palo Alto in California, it is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and has a network of Startup Grind chapters that are located around the world.
In Windhoek, Startup Grind is under the stewardship of director Stacey Pinto. Standard Bank sponsored N$38 000 towards the first-of-its-kind event in the country.
“We want to help young entrepreneurs grow their businesses and manage them, so that they can make a profit… However, there are various things they need to know and expect from us as the bank. They need to know that the bank doesn’t only give financial assistance, but also advises them how to grow and sustain their businesses,” Isaacs advised the young entrepreneurs.
He further advised them that they needed to nurture businesses that will give Namibia’s economy a competitive edge and render the best services.
“Young entrepreneurs also need to think of the economies of scale; they need to think big. They need to learn how to manage a business, they need to work on their numbers, they need to price their products correctly, so they can make a profit, and most importantly, they need to dig deep to make their business bankable,” he stressed.
Isaacs said that when deciding to finance a new venture, Standard Bank looks at an entrepreneur’s capacity to repay their loan, as well as the economic conditions, and ways to mitigate them, if they are unfavourable.
“We also don’t focus on collateral; we look at the candidate’s ability for repayment. However, I advise that they have a contingency plan for ‘what if the business fails’, because you will need a back-up plan, just in case your initial business fails,” Isaacs said.
He stressed that the bank has various products that young entrepreneurs can choose from, to advance their business, such as the Business Current Account, Business Revolving Credit, Commerce Property Loan and Contract Financing, to name a few. He advised potential enterprise owners to contact the toll free number, 0819286, for more options.
Angula, who admitted that she had a rocky start after venturing from the corporate into the enterprise sector, said that she has found that people want to be employed, but they do not want to work, which involves rendering their services beyond their normal working hours, into the wee morning hours.
“There is a value in principles, because you need to be principled in your decisions (as a business person),” Angula said.
She added that new ventures should know that they don’t have a business, until they are generating income.
Highlighting something that most entrepreneurs do not think about, Angula urged them to venture into bartering, looking into what they can offer other people, in return for something that they can use.
“The only thing that will save this continent is if we make and consume our own products, as well as export them. We need to learn that failure is not as bad as we think, because people can learn from it. We need to pay attention to the smallest details and listen to what we are being told,” she stressed.
Additionally, Angula pointed out that there are many uncharted territories in Namibia, for new ventures, which provides immense opportunities for them.
“Namibians are not used to start-ups; they are used to established institutions. I want to advise them that they should not push to go get money (through lending), but they should gain traction through selling. Entrepreneurs need to fund their operation and not the growth of the business; do what you can with what you have,” Angula added.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015