The journey thus far, post Covid-19

18 June 2021 | People

The 2021 start of the Olafika SME Development and Mentorship Programme kicked off on 20 May 2021 at Rock Lodge in Okahandja. The programme was designed and conceptualised by Namibian-born entrepreneur and businesswoman Twapewa Kadhikwa and received full support from:

- Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC),

- the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS),

- Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade & SME Development,

- Ministry of Urban & Rural Development and the African Leadership Institute (ALI).

In his remarks, Brent Eiseb CEO of NDTC said, “It is important to highlight why we got involved in Olafika. When the concept was proposed, what stood out was how much it aligned with our vision. Our passion is to make Namibia shine, Olafika is the platform to make Namibia shine. We can be very proud to say that what we are doing here is a game changer for this country. The effects might not be immediate but 3 to 5 years down the line, trust me, the impact of this project will be known”.

The most important question he urged students to ask themselves is, “how do I become a solution for the national problems and how do I become a mentor to other upcoming entrepreneurs?”.

He concluded with these words,” Olafika is not a sponsorship, it is a partnership. Olafika will create a platform where stakeholders can come together and speak in a shared and safe space about where we want to take the SME sector in Namibia. Looking around and seeing the rest of the partners, one can see that we are strategically well aligned to push this initiative to its fullest potential. “

Olafika takes participants through an active transformation and leadership training. Dr Chrisna von Gericke-Fourie, co-founder of the African Leadership Institute (ALI), said to the participants of this programme should no longer rely on government to provide them with jobs as that era has long ended and encouraged them to become job creators and proud entrepreneurs.

The second intake of participants is scheduled to start on 12 July 2021. The participants have expressed excitement and are eager to continue with the next session. They have expressed gratitude and appreciation towards the programme, sponsors and the founder.

One of the Olafika 2021 participants, Irene Ngarizemo, said: “I see Olafika SME Development & Mentorship Programme as an opportunity that will come with benefits such as equipping myself with knowledge and skills. I believe that after this programme, we will shine so bright that we’ll attract others to become trained entrepreneurs. To all the partners, thank you for taking the time, effort and resources to invest in us. This is new to many of us, but we are very excited. The truth is, we were never trained to become Entrepreneurs and this is a huge relief!

Natalie Rusmann, the country representative of KAS, shared the following remarks: “The Olafika initiative is something different and when it came to our office, we realised very quickly how we share the same values that the programme stands for. SME development is a new focus for us here in Namibia however, this is a new focus that we are keen to contribute to. KAS wants to be a partner in the success story of so many Namibians.”

Olafika founder and director Twapewa Kadhikwa believes that Olafika should drive the Namibian entrepreneurship vision by growing the platform to provide factual, balanced and easily understood research-based information. Olafika has the ability to positively change public perceptions towards SME’s and Entrepreneurs and support development, innovation and create competitive industry growth within the Namibian business sector.

“Africa is currently known as the continent that exports prosperity and imports poverty. A continent that is attractive to all but Africans. How do we change this? Olafika students are the new generation of thinkers that need to change the perspective for all Namibians.

“This initiative is a holistic approach to impower the future generation of entrepreneurs. Namibians are busy but there are no results to show what we are busy with? We need to stand back and reflect and be busy differently. We must create job creators and this the vacuum that Olafika is filing. We only have exactly nine years to vision 2030, we are extremely late! If we do not start running now, our ambitions will not bring themselves into action. I therefor invite all stakeholders to jump onto this bandwagon, the time is now for all of us,” said Kadhikwa.

“Covid-19 has shown us how catastrophic it is not to develop the backbone of your economy, which are the SMEs. Once you have too many who depend on the government, it’s a catastrophe. Let us not waste the lessons learned from this Crisis,” she says.

The class of 2021 commenced on 27 May 2021 and was conducted through a hybrid format, using face-to-face teaching with a stronger online presence via the Olafika app as well as digital platforms.

In the quest to improve the quality of the programme, Olafika’s curriculum is now accredited by the Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA) through the programme’s training partner, African Leadership Institute (ALI), allowing the initiative to serve the needs of raw and budding Namibian entrepreneurs who have a vision but lack guidance.

It is the first local qualification in entrepreneurship. “Our formula for the way forward is back to basics. Foundation is very important. Let’s say you were a baker before Covid, and then schools closed and orders are down, of course your market and product demand has decreased. Your bakery is no longer feasible, but because you have a good foundation, you can Pivot and move onto another opportunity. The skill learned in Olafika now assist you to identify a new opportunity, to market, network, manage your finance, because you have the necessary skills. You could start a catering business and your business does not need to close.”

About Olafika

Olafika, meaning “the time is now” in Oshiwambo, is a structured training and mentorship programme designed to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills needed for business success. Olafika aims to teach SME owners to understand themselves and their business needs in order to be successful and grow their businesses. Participants are sourced from all 14 regions and are trained as well as mentored over a 12-month period. During this period, participants share and discuss case studies, business scenarios and real-life situations.

Olafika aims to be known as a household name that adds value to SME development and mentorship in Namibia.

For more information and pictures, please contact:

Ms. Belinda Manyenga

Digital & Media Content Manager

081 444 5066

[email protected]


Ms. Sarah Ishuna

Project Coordinator

081 1429111

[email protected]

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