A team of consultants talked to 33 local business women, asking them for ideas and suggestions how the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) may better serve them.

The team from Finprobity Consultancy was contracted to travel around the country consulting and engaging with business women, and today they were in Ongwediva at the offices of NALOBA.

“We are here to listen to you, to hear what challenges you face in getting loans from DBN, because as the Government wants to make sure that women are empowered, DBN also wants to see how best to provide funding to women’s businesses,” said Mr Lemmy Manje.

Manje, who was accompanied by a colleague Ms Penza Bwalya, told the business women that DBN wants to improve its services to women entrepreneurs, not only in terms of funding but also with non-financing services such as training, accounting, business support or other development services they need.

“We are going to write a report that is independent, and which is full of recommendations. So, feel free to speak and tell us anything. The more you speak out, the more we can help DBN to help you,” Manje said.

After an hour and half of talking and discussing, the women entrepreneurs raised several challenges, which they would recommend that DBN consider.

The challenges include the problem of collateral, and they recommended that DBN do away with the asking of collateral from start-up enterprises owned by women.

Another challenge is the confidence in women; they asked that DBN start to have confidence in women entrepreneurs and trusting that they will pay back any loan.

The women also recommended that DBN should give training to the entrepreneurs before they are given loans.

“In about two weeks’ time, another team of my colleagues will come again here to talk to some of you to look for more information,” Manje said. “DBN doesn’t want a one-size fits all approach, but wants to tailor its services to the needs of individual entrepreneurs.”

In the photos: Business women who attended the meeting.