More than 30 women from various regions gathered today, in Otjiwarongo, 26 April 2023, to undergo Intellectual Property (IP) training. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gladly sponsored the project training for free, and it is termed ‘Namibia Women Entrepreneurs: From Generation to Commercialization of IP Assets.’
This initiative was created to provide 50 Namibian women entrepreneurs from all 14 regions with the skills, knowledge, and technical know-how they need to utilize intellectual property rights as strategic instruments to propel their firms forward. Only 35 entrepreneurs received their training today, while the remaining one will receive their training in Windhoek, from May 3 to 5 this year.
According to BIPA Chief Executive Officer Vivienne Katjiuongua, intellectual property may become a formidable vehicle for transporting fresh ideas and unique solutions to market; hence, it is the next economic battlefield weapon.
“Many people will agree with me that women entrepreneurs face unique challenges in the business world, from limited access to financing to cultural biases and stereotypes. At the same time, many female entrepreneurs have distinct characteristics and abilities, such as resilience, inventiveness, and a strong dedication to their communities. This project seeks to capitalize on these strengths while addressing the challenges and shortcomings by providing comprehensive training and support to these female entrepreneurs, allowing them to identify and protect their intellectual property assets, navigate the registration process, and ultimately commercialize these assets for business growth,” she explained.
She went on to say that they are overjoyed with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s cooperation as a development partner.
Katjiuongua stated that the assistance they got highlighted the potential of platforms and networks, and she urged all participants to embrace this by learning and motivating one another along the way.
“We believe that this initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of the participating women entrepreneurs as well as the Namibian economy as a whole. By empowering these women to protect and leverage their intellectual property assets, we can open up new doors for innovation, job creation, and economic growth,” she said.
On behalf of WIPO, Julieta Nhane, Program Officer, Regional and National Development Sector, highlighted that worldwide, female-owned businesses produce income for whole families and create jobs for their communities, and Namibia is no different.
Nhane pointed out that, according to International Labour Organization data, women suffer limited access to skills, education, and resources, as well as a lack of business management capabilities, prohibiting them from earning equal or more income than their male counterparts.
“We believe that now is the time to acknowledge these barriers and constraints, such as limited access to funding, training, support systems, mentorship, and networking opportunities, and we applaud the government of Namibia’s efforts to overcome them,” Nhane said.
Meanwhile, Nhane emphasized that steps to establish a robust business environment in which women are equipped with knowledge and skills to boost employment and expand the availability of entrepreneurial possibilities (National Gender Policy) are particularly important.
“As the world’s leading intellectual property organization, WIPO wants to help Namibia become one of the nations where IP is seen as a tool for adding value to business, research and development, arts and culture, tourism, agriculture, and other areas,” she explained.
Conclusively, she urged the participants to recognize that when they do business, they generate intangible assets such as trademarks, patents, and designs, among other things, and that these must be highlighted when commercializing the products or services.