SME Support Programme
Enterprise Development Programme
One of the important parts of the Rössing Foundation’s activities is the diversification and strengthening of the local economy through providing support to small- and medium-scale enterprises.
Support to Arandis-based Dreamland Garden Enterprise
Rössing Foundation continued to work with the Dreamland Garden members to improve the day-to-day operations of the community garden. The enterprise is now flourishing as water becomes reliable and the project members continue to sell their produce to local shops and individuals in Arandis. However, the sustainable water supply needs to be formalised and the team is busy with engagement of the Arandis Town Council in this regard.
The Rössing Foundation in collaboration with COSDEC on Training Entrepreneurs
The aim was to empower women with job applications and interviews skills. Several Arandisbased SMEs were trained in the following activities at the Community Skills Development Centre (COSDEC) in Swakopmund:
- SME Basic Small Business Development: 13 Arandis SMEs attended, and
- Empowering Erongo Young Women Project: Jobready workshop for eight participants.
The Rössing Foundation supported the establishment of the Oshikuku green schemes enterprise in Omusati Region. The purpose of the Green Schemes enterprise is to create employment opportunities, reduce poverty and vulnerability among small scale farmers through sustainable agricultural initiatives. The planting and transplanting of seedlings continued throughout the year, with an additional 200m2 plot of maize completed. The ten project members harvested the first produce and sold it to the community in the town of Oshikuku and the surrounding villages.
Mr Namboga, the owner of a vegetable garden, sharing his practical experience and gardening techniques with the Oshikuku project members.
A project member from Oshikuku vegetable garden selling spinach at the local cuca shops.
The official launch of the Okombahe Community Debushing Enterprise was held in November 2019.
(From left) Honourable Clara Bohitile, Acting Chairperson of the Rössing Foundation Board of Trustees; Honourable Governor of Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua; Ms Milka Mungunda, Executive Officer of Social Security Commission and Li Youliang, Vice President of China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC).
Support to Okombahe Debushing Project
Through funding secured from the Social Security Commission Development Fund, the Rössing Foundation has been supporting the Okombahe Community De-bushing Enterprise (OCDE). The OCDE is a community based organisation that was established with the goal of harvesting Prosopis trees in Omaruru River basin for woods and fodder for environmental, social and economic gain.
The enterprise has two primary goals: to eradicate the invasive Prosopis tree species from the Omaruru river basin in the Dâures Constituency, Erongo Region, and in doing so, serve as a source of income to the Okombahe community.
During 2019, the Rössing Foundation and the Erongo Regional Council (Dâures Constituency Office) organised a study visit to Omaheke and Otjozondjupa Regions for the enterprise beneficiaries. Four project representatives participated and were exposed to various bush value chain activities at four different operations.
Study Tours for the Okombahe Enterprise members
Farm Langbeen, a private farm outside Dordabis
Production benefits: Production of fodder from bush as animal feed and general production of pellets. Learning outcomes: Harvesting bush to feeding cattle as a business to assist farmers.
Vergenoeg Project east of Gobabis, a community-based project
Production benefits: Wood harvesting, processing and packing. Learning outcomes: Possible business for the Okombahe enterprise as an incomegenerating activity to members and community.
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)
Production benefits: CCF is a conservation organisation located outside Otjiwarongo, and is also involved in wood processing using modern technologies. Learning outcomes: Possible future business consideration for the Okombahe enterprise as an income-generating activity to members and community.
Machineries Operation and Safety Procedures for the Okombahe Debushing Enterprise
Nine members of the Okombahe Debushing Enterprise were trained by Rössing Foundation and Rössing Uranium mine’s Health and Safety Department in how to safely operate a chipper, hammer mill and chain saws. After the practical training and demonstration, participants were able to operate the equipment and apply safety procedures.
The new trainees commenced with wood production, fodder, poles and fencing poles (droppers) in Okombahe and the target is to produce 40 bags of chipped materials per day for the first three months. A sample of pure Prosopis tree fibre was taken to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s laboratory for nutritional analysis and the laboratory results revealed that the Prosopis fibre is rich in crude protein and other important basic nutrients, although poor in metabolised energy. The requirement for crude protein for maintenance of cattle condition is 8 per cent while the Okombahe Prosopis has 10-13 per cent. However, the rate can be improved by adding molasses into the fibre and the farmers can feed their animals, especially during drought.
Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market
The Foundation, in collaboration with the Ûiba-Ôas Cooperative, continued its support to the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market at the t-junction off the B2 Road to Spitzkoppe and during 2019, improved solar power provision has been realised. Teams from both the Foundation and the Ûiba-Ôas Cooperative have worked together to establish an improved electrical power supply to the small-miner settlement. To this end, the Embassy of the United States provided funds to purchase a solar power supply system. The installation of new solar power has been completed and is operational. The small-scale miners are now able to have sufficient lighting at the market and to cut and polish the semi-precious stones for value-addition purposes.
Furthermore, the Cooperative has worked with a Namibian architect to develop a multi-purpose community centre that will house a kindergarten and serve as a venue for cultural events and community gatherings.
In addition, the Ûiba-Ôas Cooperative, supported by the Rössing Foundation, continued to investigate feasible options to bring water supply to the market, which is crucial to the further development of the community. Discussions were held with various stakeholders to identify the best long-term solution to the community’s continual water challenges.
Erongo Development Foundation Partnership
The Rössing Foundation, in partnership with the Erongo Development Foundation (EDF), continued to provide collateral funding and business development services and marketing linkage to the SME sector in the Erongo Region. The support is provided in collaboration with the Erongo Regional Council, particularly through the seven constituency offices of the region.
The Erongo Micro-credit Scheme provides loan guarantee for SMEs that are unable to access loans from commercial banks, due to a lack of collateral. During 2019, the EDF loans overall performance was below average, as the repayment stood at 38 per cent. The low repayment rate may be attributed to the current economic downturn. However, the EDF board and the regional leadership need to investigate, assess and plan new strategies to assist the entrepreneurs with the challenges they are facing. Failure to do so, the current defaulting rate would put more pressure to the guarantee fund as the EDF guarantees 60 per cent of the total loans.