Bank Helps SME Realise Dream

The significance of small and medium enterprises (SME) in creating employment cannot be over-emphasised, as demonstrated by TimberWorld and Joinery.

The three-year-old SME employs between 60 to 75 employees, 21 of whom are permanent, 49 are on fixed-term contracts, and five are sub-contracted.

These employees are able to support themselves and their families because of the vision and passion of Albertus Nel to establish TimberWorld and Joinery.

TimberWorld and Joinery is an SME client of Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch.

TimberWorld and Joinery mainly manufactures built-in cupboards for kitchens and bedrooms, but also produces solid wood furniture, laminated flooring, office furniture and other products as per clients’ requests.

Nel started the company in 2005 on a part-time basis, but closed down in 2009 due to growing commitments in his permanent job as a deputy divisional manager in the retail sector.

Nel has always had a passion for carpentry since he was a child. He started off with only the basic knowledge taught at school level and then as a newly-wed, progressed to making loose furniture such as coffee tables, TV and wine cabinets for his wife and their first double bed as a married couple.

In 2012, he took the bold decision to resign from his job to fully pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur in the carpentry and joinery industry. When he re-opened the business, the main challenge was to find qualified and skilled people in the trade and also to make a footprint in the competitive Namibian carpentry and joinery market, but he believed in his vision to make a success of his passion. With the help of his team, the company has since grown from strength to strength.

“The business is doing well and we have had two big projects last year. We are currently busy with various projects and some are in the final stages of completion. I am very proud of my team as they are very hard working and understand the importance of meeting deadlines. Our positive attitude towards our customers has also contributed to the success of the business.”

Nel said one of the challenges facing many companies in Namibia is the poor level of customer service. “Customer service is lacking and companies don’t seem to care about going the extra mile for a customer. This is something that Namibian companies need to address, especially SMEs who still have to establish themselves. Your attitude towards your customers can make or break your business.”

Having been a Bank Windhoek customer for the past 22 years, Nel naturally approached Bank Windhoek ESME Finance Branch in 2013 for an SME loan to purchase his own machinery.

“Bank Windhoek has been very helpful and I’m very grateful for their assistance and the path that they have walked with us and for being involved and always ready to help if needed.”

Nel plans to buy more machines that will enable him to do various cuts and offer clients a wider range of products to choose from.

He is currently operating at a rental space at Oshapaka Park in Kallie Roodt Street, Northern Industrial Area of Windhoek. However, the space is cramped.

Though it is a challenge to find affordable property or land to build a warehouse in Windhoek, Nel still has plans to expand and take his company to a higher level by offering a one-stop shop where he can provide his various clients with a wide range of carpentry services. This will also include a showroom for his solid wood furniture.

His aice to fellow SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs is not be afraid to follow their dreams or be afraid to take calculated risks. “We can only learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we will make mistakes, but in everything we do, there is a lesson to be learned. Young entrepreneurs need to do their homework and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and also what they want to present to the market.”

Mbo Luvindao, Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance Branch Manager said aspiring entrepreneurs have no excuse for not attempting to turn their dreams into reality. Bank Windhoek will consider viable and sustainable business proposals that add value to the local economy.

Source : New Era