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Exploring sustainable economic challenges and opportunities experienced by the funded small and medium enterprises at a selected commercial bank in Namibia

Author: 
Josef Kefas Sheehama and Sadrag Panduleni Shihomeka
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

This paper explored sustainable economic challenges and opportunities experienced by funded Small and Medium Enterprises at a selected commercial Bank in Namibia. The study was guided by the following objectives; to identify the sustainable economic challenges experienced by the commercial bank funded SMEs in Windhoek; to identify sustainable economic opportunities that exists for these funded SMEs and finally to offer recommendations which can serve as guidelines which the management of the Bank can consider to support, grow and sustain local SMEs. The study followed a phenomenological (i.e. quantitative) philosophy and adopted a questionnaire as an instrument to collect data from a sample of 70 SME owners as a sample from an accessible population of more than 500 SMEs (including those that are not funded by the commercial bank in the study) in the Khomas region by using a stratified random sampling strategy. The strata were: Manufacturing and construction=40, Agriculture=10, Education and Training=8 and other=12 based on the retailing sector within which they are operating. Data were analysed using an excel application to draw tables and graphs to depict the most challenges facing the funded SMEs in the Khomas region and to uncover the opportunities available to these SMEs for growth and sustainability. The findings reveal that funded SMEs were experiencing challenges that impede their smooth operation such as access to finance, employees’ turnover, and availability of affordable workplaces/rental rooms. Additionally, the findings of the study indicate that there are opportunities available to these SMEs in Namibia such as availability of financial assistance from development banks and other commercial banks in Namibia, increased population growth which signals market expansion and improved technological applications. The study recommends that stakeholders such as government agencies, other ministries and entrepreneurs should to introduce capacity building leadership and management programmes or strengthen the SMEs capacity and leadership skills to sustain their organisations. Additionally, the study suggests that SME division should revisit their funding criteria to cater for the underrepresented sectors such as education and training as well as female representation in funded SME ownerships.

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