Promoting Entrepreneurship amid Youth in Windhoek’s Informal Settlements: A Namibian Case

Winschiers-Theophilus, Heike; Cabrero, Daniel G.; Chivuno-Kuria, Shilumbe; Mendonca, Hedvig; Angula, Shetuyene S. and Onwordi, Lisa (2017). Promoting Entrepreneurship amid Youth in Windhoek’s Informal Settlements: A Namibian Case. Science, Technology and Society, 22(2) pp. 350–366.



Considering the high unemployment rate among Namibian youth and a lack of job opportunities, the promotion of entrepreneurship has gained wider attention in the country. A number of initiatives have been started such as entrepreneurship trainings and workshops, business idea competitions, etc. All these aim to inspire young people to think of alternative income sources. As part of a two-year funded community outreach research and development (R&D) project, we have investigated participatory approaches to engage marginalized youth into conceptualizing their own context, imparting skills, and deriving new career paths. This article reports and reflects on one of the interventions we have recently concluded with a group of youth in Havana, an informal settlement in the outskirts of Windhoek. We conducted what we entitled “The Havana Entrepreneur”, a series of interactions inspired upon the model of the American reality game show “The Apprentice”. Over a number of weeks two youth groups were given challenges to tackle by means of competing against one another. After completion of each challenge, groups were rated by a number of judges on skills demonstrated such as marketing, presentation, reflection and creativity among others. We observed an increase in, and improvement of skills revealed along tasks’ completion, besides an openly expressed self-realization and discovery of abilities by participants. Moreover, the youth are currently engaged in the continuation of activities beyond the initial entrepreneurial interactions. Thus we suggest replicating “The Havana Entrepreneur”, including the recording on camera of it by the youth themselves as a new mode to instigating a wider entrepreneurial spirit in informal settlements.

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