Amy stokes the fires of small-scale entrepreneurial women

Windhoek: History will remember the 21st century as the century of the rise of women all around the world, and African women have not been left out of this ongoing wave of women empowerment.

One such an example was found yesterday at the Windhoek Show Grounds where the annual Okamatapati Show got underway, and where women members of the Ongombe Show Society, the hosts of the Okamatapati Show, showcased their entrepreneurial skills with a variety of traditional food and some crafty improvements.

Amy Tjiramba from Epikuro brought her Jo-Vat Investments cc to the show with a flair of ingenious foodstuff that had the early birds wanting more at breakfast time.

Top of her list is her secret vetkoek recipe that she learned from her mother in Epikuro at the tender age of fourteen. “My mother already qualified as an African entrepreneur in those days, as she taught me to stand on my own two feet as a woman and not just provide for my own household but to take my skills to the next level and start a business. That was solid advice and four years ago I managed to start my close corporation with the aid of other members of the community. I do catering for all functions and can supply any food customers’ demand. We operate from a small premises in Windhoek and in four short years have built up quite a reputation with our scrumptious food,” she says while preparing another batch of vetkoek in a humungous black pot.

She says it is high time that African women redefine their roles on the continent and that her counterparts in the diaspora also make their mark as they contribute to the economic growth of their foreign bases. “We women entrepreneurs are also igniting change back home through mentorship, support of start-ups and philanthropic causes,” she notes.

Amy believes small-scale women entrepreneurs are the key to economic growth because they generate employment. But women-owned businesses could contribute more than what they are doing today. A growing amount of research shows that countries that fail to address gender barriers are losing out on significant economic growth. Increased attention to the gender dimensions of economic development is a key issue.

She says government recognizes that small-scale women entrepreneurs have not been on an equal footing when it comes to their access to opportunities and assets but it has yet to effectively address the barriers women face in business.

She list barriers facing small-scale women entrepreneurs as lack of education, inadequate finance, poor access to justice, managing employees, discrimination and lack of property rights

“But despite these barriers, the age of women entrepreneurs has dawned, and I will carry on promoting the concept and keep on filling plates with delicious food. Not just for the duration of the Okamatapati Show but long after that as I want to grow my small-sale business into something much bigger,” she says with conviction.