New sportswear and school uniform shop opens

WINDHOEK: Namibia cannot afford to forgo economic gains as a result of a lack of value-addition at home, Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein says.

“This will lead us to exposure to risks due to the dependence on exhaustible commodities and fluctuations in demand and prices,” he said while inaugurating the M&M Sportswear and Schooltex retail shop here on Monday.

The store is situated at Town Square Mall in the central business district (CBD) of the capital.

Schlettwein said Namibia’s manufacturing capacity entails distribution, and retailing needs to be accelerated to deliver equitable benefits of economic growth, additional job opportunities and equitable wealth-sharing to the whole of society.

“Our economy must be geared towards a higher level of value-addition between value-capturing in value- chains and enhanced local supply-side capacity in the economy, including public-private dialogue,” the minister said.

He said Government is convinced that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are important sources of sustainable employment-creation and are, therefore, crucial to the success of an enterprise economy, hence its commitment to the development of the SME sector.

M&M, owned by Namibian businesswoman Beauty Mathupi, started with only six employees in 2001, and to date has a staff complement of 83 people.

The company has a dispatch factory and a warehouse.

On Monday, the company added a retail outlet to its profile, and will sell school uniforms, work overalls and sportswear.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has through the years supported M&M Innovations with support services ranging from the participation in international exhibitions, sourcing exposure to China for competitive industrial inputs and the provision of production equipment, amongst others.

The company entered the retail market through the line ministry’s Sites and Premises and Rental Support Program.

“Many of us have school-going children, and until now we have been purchasing school uniforms and sports’ clothing manufactured elsewhere, thereby contributing to the development of industries in other countries at the expense of our own potential to industrialize.

We all now have an opportunity to make sure that this initiative does not die out, but grows into an industry which will contribute to employment-creation and poverty-alleviation,” said Schlettwein.

He thus called on all Namibians to support M&M Innovations with this important endeavor, and to make a success of it.

On her part, Mathupi thanked the Trade ministry for the support, saying she started from humble beginnings and today is an emerging SME.

“When I started my business, I had no collateral to secure money from banks, and the banks turned me away on several occasions.

I thank the government for allowing me to give customers a chance to get access to locally-produced garments and wear with pride the ‘Growth at Home’ brand,” she beamed.