Support for fledgling entrepreneurs

08 December 2020 | Business

Thirty-twee fledgling and aspiring entrepreneurs received N$2.5 million worth of grant funding on Tuesday.
The funding comes from the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals Impact Facility (SDGIF), a multi-stakeholder financial and capacity building platform that bridges entrepreneurship, social innovation, and blended capital to create sustainable economic and social returns.
Fulfilling the promise of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires multi-sectoral approaches that bring together expertise from a range of perspectives. The SDGIF was created in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia and is supported by the facilities finance partner Standard Bank Namibia and grant facility manager, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF).
The SDGIF provides competitive catalytic funding to Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with commercially viable businesses in targeted economic sectors. The grant funding is provided by the UNDP and it is intended to incentivize financial institutions to provide affordable long-term loans so that funding becomes more easily available to enterprises. The SDGIF is coupled with business development support services offered by Empretec Namibia under the MIT

Calls for proposals
The announcement follows the first of three calls for proposals which will be issued during the first phase of the SDGIF. The current window focuses on companies in agriculture, nutraceuticals and artisans. Window 2 (manufacturing and sustainable tourism) and 3 (renewable energy and IT) will be launched in March and July respectively.
The facility is managed by the EIF.
“MSMEs have a significant role to play in the attainment of the SDGs, especially in the areas of ending poverty, reducing inequality, and protecting the planet,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Armstrong Alexis while handing over the grants. “This ability has been seriously weakened due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 on businesses and workers in the formal and informal sectors. Through the SDGIF, we would like to encourage multi-sectoral partnerships to seriously integrate measures that will support the revivability of MSMEs.
From Standard Bank Namibia’s side, manager of enterprise banking Felicia Jooste said that the bank is a firm believer in growing Namibia. “You symbolise a Namibia as it can be. With these funds you will go on to build sustainable businesses and create jobs. This facility allows Standard Bank to venture into an area it normally cannot operate in, giving uncollateralised loans to MSMEs. SDGIF therefore helps us to play our part in building sustainable Namibian champions.”
According to EIF Head of Communication and Corporate Services, Lot Ndamanomhata, the “EIF is committed to SDG financing through a variety of options. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic the deepening of public-private collaboration, as well as the international community's efforts to put money to work for sustainable societies.”