The Katuka Mentorship Programme acknowledged 31 mentors and mentees who completed this year’s intake at an event held in November 2020. It also introduced 48 participants as next year’s candidates.

Bank Windhoek’s Head of Corporate Social Investment, Sponsorship and Events, Bronwyn Moody, said, “In February, we committed to sponsoring the programme because as connectors of positive change, we believe that it plays a critical role in empowering women in the small to medium enterprise sector,” she said, as she commended the programme’s continuation regardless of COVID-19 challenges.

“Thank you to the leaders of the programme for going virtual with this year’s sessions and not merely cancelling it, and for all the hard work and commitment between mentors and mentees.”

With Bank Windhoek as the primary sponsor, the programme aims to empower and encourage entrepreneurs, business, and professional women to succeed in their careers through mentorship by seasoned business-minded and professional women. It was launched in 2001 by the late Lena Markus, a former Businesswoman of the Year in the category Corporate/Professional.

“The Programme matches a mentee and mentor with similar personal and professional interests in the process of support, sharing, and learning to help entrepreneurs and businesswomen who want to start a business, improve their business management or achieve success in their careers and reach their full potential,” said the Namibia Economist Marketing Manager and the programme’s organiser, Desèré Lundon-Muller.

In its nineteenth year, the Katuka Mentorship Programme has produced significant results in the participating mentees’ careers. To date, 417 entrepreneurs and businesswomen have completed it. Entrepreneur Rauna Hekandjo, who spoke on behalf of the 2020 participants, said although business was challenging due to COVID-19, being part of the programme was beneficial as it allowed her to become innovative and seek solutions to tackle problems. “We learned a lot about financial management, and are grateful to Bank Windhoek and the Katuka Mentorship Programme for this opportunity,” said Hekandjo.

The 2021 participants kicked off the Katuka Mentorship Programme with orientation training in February 2021, with the second and third gatherings scheduled to take place in April and August.