YOUNG entrepreneur Sandra Mwiihangele has suggested that basic money management skills training should be introduced in schools from Grade 1.
The founder and cosmetic chemist at Kiyomisandz said this when she presented her topic ‘Youth Entrepreneurship: Micro Credit and Micro Financing’ last Thursday evening in Windhoek.
Her presentation was done during the Theo-Ben Gurirab lecture series under the theme ‘The Role of the Youth in the Implementation of Agenda 2063: Challenges and Opportunities’.
She told The Namibian yesterday that the introduction of basic money management skills training would be more effective if such training is done in schools from early.
Mwiihangele, who became the first and so far the only Namibian to make it to the ’30 under 30′ Forbes Africa Entrepreneurs’ list this year, added that successfully accessing funds was becoming more difficult for start-ups to grow.
She encouraged the youth to attempt to fund their start-up businesses from personal savings.
“For example, one could get a part-time weekend job or follow what I did, which was work full-time for a year to save up capital to initially fund my Kiyomisandz company. This is one of the ways how I managed to access and secure funds later, while starting up my business venture.
“Potential investors and lenders are more likely to fund your business knowing that you believe in your business idea to the extent of risking your own hard-earned money,” she said.
Mwiihangele also said that it takes a few years to get an enterprise off the ground, thus there is a need for young entrepreneurs to begin their business journeys now, so that by the time the younger generation, and the generation after that, grow up and finish school, they will have job opportunities created by current entrepreneurs and soon-to-be entrepreneurs.
“It is wonderful that we have programmes where incubators are provided for start-ups. However, more support is needed in this regard. Our youth entrepreneurs need mentorship on basic business and money management skills to ensure a higher success rate for businesses,” she said.
The 2016 Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) Innovation Award winner also said youth entrepreneurs should not be afraid to register at entities that host competitions or awards which offer prize money or capital to winners.
“They should explore exactly what these entities are looking for,” she said.
She recommended that Namibia should have an annual youth entrepreneurship trade fair, as this would expose youth-owned enterprises on a national platform.
“My business, Kiyomisandz, is part of the growing cosmetics industry in Namibia and I will be 75 years old in 2063. Therefore, I have 46 years to work strategically to grow my business to a level which it can become as impactful as Namibia Breweries and Pupkewitz Holdings – a growing empire that will help improve and contribute towards my country’s overall GDP growth, together with other youth-owned enterprises,” she said.
She also encouraged young African entrepreneurs to build businesses not only for themselves, but for the national benefit and sociol impact in society.
What should become a shared vision among all businesses across Africa is to help secure employment for the next generation, thus resulting in helping achieve Africa’s overall developmental goals by 2063, she said.
In May this year, Mwiihangele was recognised as a star entrepreneur by Forbes Africa magazine.
Forbes Africa, a South Africa-based entrepreneurship magazine, in the stable of US-based Forbes Media, said it spent months hunting for ’30 under 30′ entrepreneurs building businesses, creating jobs and transforming Africa. The annual list highlights young stars on the horizon.