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“Trust the process, even though you don’t understand it. Every step has its purpose.”


Ismenio Pascoal is a young entrepreneur and the current Managing Partner & Finance Administrator of Kuenda Digital Namibia. He was born in Angola but later moved to Windhoek, Namibia when he was 13 years old. He completed his primary school education at Amazing Kids Private Academy and he is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Finance at International Training College. He is a fervent academic, also holding qualifications from the University of Bocconi (Private Equity & Venture Capital), PwC (Data-Driven Decision Making) and IBM (Enterprise Design Thinking) to mention a few.

While in his first year, Ismenio started working on Kuenda Digital with his partners, as a way to make money and to respond to the high demand of companies who had an interest in advertising on Successcode –  an African digital media brand focused on modern entrepreneurship. Due to the founder working on other ventures, Ismenio has taken the lead as general manager of operations and has been doing amazing work to establish the start-up in Namibia.

Tell us about Kuenda Digital Namibia, the products & services you offer and your team.

“Kuenda Digital is a marketing agency founded in 2017 in Angola, and just recently expanded to the Namibian market. We specialize in Digital Marketing, offering services such as Online Advertising, Social Media Management, E-mail Marketing and Inbound Marketing.

Our clients include companies with enormous growth potential, who understand that having a high-quality product or service is just not enough to differentiate themselves from the competition. For this reason, they invest in the expansion of their communication & sales channels, and search for an agency that is well-known for helping businesses turn the internet into one of the main channels to attract, engage & retain customers.

Thus far, we have worked on more than 100 projects with several companies from Angola, the US, South Africa & Namibia. Our main achievements include: Tony Elumelu Foundation Finalists/ Alumni, Anshiza Prize semi-finalists by the African Leadership Academy, and winners of the “Challenge of 1000 Entrepreneurs,” by the Africa-France Summit.

Thankfully we have a wonderful team which made this happen. Kuenda Digital has a vast team in Angola & Namibia, comprising of Project Managers, Designers, Videographers, Photographers, Marketers, Web Developers and an extensive network of freelancers & partners who ensure that all projects are launched on time & deliver the expected results.


Kuenda Digital Team Members.

What inspired you to start this business?

“Kuenda Digital emerged as a way of professionally respond to the high demand of companies who wanted to advertise their initiatives on Successcode.ao and its database.

From my passion about entrepreneurship and always eager to find solutions to problems, from the simplest things to the more complex ones, I joined my partners Luimar Silva and Daniel Neto to bring my finance know-how to this business venture and then we simply put the engine to start working.

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“The thing that I enjoy the most is helping those around me. As my own boss, I love to see others achieving their objectives either socially, financially or professionally. Being your own boss is caring about others.

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“Firstly, it is the flexibility and strength of our business model which enables us to bring the best talent to any project, then it flows from the manner in which our services are integrated, fast responsive times, data driven strategies, and we have a development division enabling us to launch our own digital products.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“Starting out as young and inexperienced entrepreneurs, we faced all kinds of challenges you can imagine. From the lack of credibility, business structure, managing work and studies. Nevertheless, I can recall that one of the biggest challenges we faced were access to financing, qualified professionals and mentorship.

Consistently investing in knowledge, being as close as possible to our clients for feedback, always testing what we have learned and participating in start-up competitions helped us a lot to get to where we are today – facing more complicated challenges, but at the end, overcoming them is what makes everything worth it.”

What is your business philosophy?

“Trust the process, even though you don’t understand it. Every step has its purpose.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“Taking advantage of digital channels has shifted from wanted to needed service for most companies’ survival. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation to such an extent that it may be hard for companies which are not fourth-industrial-revolution-ready to get out of it alive. So, I would ask “What are you waiting for to start your journey?” It’s a lovely industry and its value just keeps increasing. Today is better than tomorrow. Start now!”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“Networking is everything; that’s one of the things I tell most of the people around me. Invest in your networking. It can make you flourish, not only in business but in your personal life as well.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“We help businesses reach their target audience, leverage their sales and strongly position their brand. As they grow, we grow, and together we provide high tax-returns to the government, hire more people – that alone is everything as we believe that economic empowerment gives people freedom.

All our partners are involved in various local leadership & volunteering projects. Although we still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, we believe that using platforms such as Launch Namibia to share our experiences so far may be the push someone just starting or about to give up needs to continue pushing. In addition to that, I mentioned before about the partnerships we have with freelancers & other companies. This operates as a support network to help other companies flourish and increase their reach.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“Despite this pandemic I see a lot of start-ups growing, that’s wonderful. My recommendation would be that each entrepreneur evaluates their core strengths, watch for market gaps & convert their business ideas into live product/services as soon as possible. It doesn’t need to be perfect for you to start; all you need is a MVP (Minimum Viable Product), consistency & focus. By doing so, we are helping the start-up ecosystem to grow.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“The pandemic has definitely affected the economy worldwide. In our case, at the beginning of the pandemic we had to deal with an unexpected cut of more than 80% of our client portfolio. Unfortunately, this is one of the first investment companies dilute when things get tight. Things are slowly getting back on track as companies realize the need to develop and strengthen their digital approach as a way of getting through this situation.

Although we are natively digital, we were also forced to adapt, create new strategies, review our company’s budget & goals, renegotiate contracts & rationalize our expenses. There is so much going on, its key is to focus solely on what we can control or else we lose faith and the sense of direction.”


Email: hello@kuendadigital.com | ismenio@kuendadigital.com

Website: www.kuendadigital.com

Cell: 081 767 0591

Facebook/ Instagram: @kuendadigitalna | @ismdds

LinkedIn: Ismenio Pascoal

“If you keep moving forward you are progressing, even if it’s not exactly as fast as you imagined.”


Daryn Roberts is a qualified software developer, an entrepreneur and the owner of N!A Caps. Daryn grew up in Windhoek and completed his high school education at St. Paul’s College. He then moved to Cape Town, where he completed a Certificate in Business Computers and a Diploma in Entrepreneurship at Varsity College. Thereafter, Daryn went to the University of Cape Town (UCT) and completed a Business Commerce degree, majoring in Information Systems. After obtaining that degree, he further went on to obtain a post-graduate Honors degree in Information Systems, also at UCT.  His work experience began at an off-shore software development company, based in Cape Town. By building software for clients around the world, he earned his stripes in the areas of Quality Assurance, Business Analysis and Project Management.

Daryn and his wife, who is also from Namibia, then decided to move back to Windhoek in 2015, ready to start a family. Fast forward to a few years later, he is now the proud father of two beautiful daughters and he has been working as a freelancer & contractor in software development. In 2015, around the same time that he returned home, his passion as well as a potential niche in the market, led him to co-found what is now N!A Caps in 2015.

Tell us about N!A Caps, the products & services you offer and your team.

“N!A Caps is all about premium quality headwear. We sell premium brands of caps with our locally inspired designs (“Namibia”, “NAM”, WHK”, the Namibia Outline, etc.). I built a fully functional e-commerce store and all the caps can be easily browsed and ordered directly online. We also offer custom cap branding services for other brands, companies, sport teams, etc., using the same imported high-quality caps.

In terms of the team behind the scene, I started N!A Caps in 2015 with a life-long friend named Rowan Carstens. A few months later another friend, Dunja Berger, joined us as partner and she brought a wealth of marketing skills to the team. In April 2018, they both moved abroad and so I took over the business as sole owner. As it stands right now, it’s just me behind N!A Caps.

What inspired you to start this business?

“Being big fans of caps and cap culture, we really just wanted to make caps that we would wear ourselves. We were tired of the only quality ‘destination’ caps displaying NY, LA, etc., and wanted something more local. We then took a batch of our caps to a local City Market and the response was so incredibly positive that we decided to bootstrap the business and grow it from there.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“In high-school I had no clue. When I got to university, I started feeling like I wanted to be an entrepreneur one day, but also had no idea as to how or when. When I made the big move to come back home to Namibia I knew that I would try to start something, and that’s when the consulting and the caps kicked off.

It’s difficult to say what I enjoy the most, but probably the fact that what I do each day can vary so much, so things never get boring. It can get stressful, but never boring! In a given day or week, I could spend a number of hours doing consulting work, then I have to do some social media marketing for the caps, then work on a new range of caps, then process orders, then do some website maintenance, then do some strategizing, etc. I enjoy that.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“What sets the caps apart are the quality. I use premium brands of caps and they are finished off with top quality embroidery (flat or 3D puff). Everyone always comments on the quality of the caps and the fact that they have locally inspired designs also catches a lot of eyes.

I then also try to match that with a quality service. I think the little things can go a long way in creating a pleasant experience for a customer. Responding in a timely manner, being friendly and thankful, keeping customers updated when you say you will, etc. Also, with the online store, people can place an order from the comfort of their office or home and receive their caps the same day or next day, while also receiving automated and personal communications throughout the process. I think it’s important to ensure someone not only enjoys the product you sell but the process of buying it from you as well.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“I think the biggest challenge for me has been time. There is never enough time to do all the things you want and need to do! I’m still trying to figure out how to overcome this but I guess the main thing is to just prioritise on a weekly or even daily basis and try managing your time as best as you can.”

What is your business philosophy?

“Stay humble and work hard.“

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“Margins on caps are low so if you are coming in to try to make some quick cash, it’s not going to work. I’ve seen a number of cap guys pop up and disappear again quickly over the last few years; there are only a couple of us who keep at it and it’s because we are passionate about it.  We like seeing people wearing something that we created and the sense of community it fosters. Make sure your business is something you are passionate about – you should have reasons for getting into it besides trying to make money.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“I think the level of importance will obviously vary depending on the type of startup, but at the end of the day it will always be important for growth.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“It definitely feels like there is a growing entrepreneurial spirit in Namibia and I think it’s important to foster that culture and support each other. Some examples:

I have a good relationship with Lokasi Keps who also sell good quality caps; we send customers to each other depending on what the customer is asking for. I try to link up with Print Hoek3D whenever I can, to create 3D printed souvenirs to give to my customers. Leon Engelbrecht Design has some of my caps in their shop. I teamed up with NamibWear to open up a Pop-up shop together. I did a collab with Gweri Vintage Collection to make some epic N!A Caps x Gweri Socks. These are all small Namibian businesses trying to create and make things happen, and through this we support and promote each other, even if it’s just by way of tagging, liking & sharing on social media. I think it’s important and I hope more local businesses find ways to partner and support one another other. I will certainly be trying to find more ways to do so.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“Be agile and flexible. Try something and if it doesn’t work, adapt it and make improvements. If you keep moving forward you are progressing, even if it’s not exactly as fast as you imagined.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“COVID-19 hit us fairly hard, purely because of the timing of things. We had just opened the Pop-up shop and invested in that but due to the pandemic, we had to close the shop. Even though it cost us to close the shop, it’s also what we genuinely wanted to do as we felt it was more important to try help limit the spread.   It’s also impacted us in the sense that it’s clear everyone is struggling from a financial perspective and generally people have less money to spend on things like caps, which is completely understandable. With that said, there is likely to be an increase in digital adoption now. More people are willing to go online for things. N!A Caps has always had an e-commerce platform so I’m excited that more people in Namibia are warming up to the idea of shopping online.

In terms of combatting the spread, I’m not sure if this really counts but I had mask clips (aka tension relievers) 3D printed. The clips get attached to your caps and then the mask can be attached to the clips instead of sitting around your ears. I would then sell these separately or give them away for free when someone buys a cap. I think it’s important to wear a mask, and wear it properly, to curb the spread. I wanted to make the clips as they make it more comfortable to wear a mask by taking away the tension on the ears.”


Email: orders@nacaps.co

Website: www.nacaps.co

Facebook: Na Caps

Instagram: @nacaps / @dazz_roberts

Twitter: @NaCapsOfficial / @dazzyfaye

LinkedIn: Daryn Roberts

“Everything that is big once started small so you should never give up.”

Mwaalwa Justine Shikongo is a 21-year-old student and entrepreneur, born and raised in Windhoek. She attended primary school at Emma Hoogenhout and went on to matriculate at Windhoek Technical High School in 2016 . Mwaalwa is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics & Supply Chain Management at the Namibian University of Science & Technology (NUST). Her academic and business aspirations are two independent aspects of her life but she believes that they could eventually align and work hand in hand.

Mwaalwa’s father passed on at very young age so she was raised solely by her mother, playing both parental figures in her life. In her own words, “That is how MJ Creations came to be and what it is now about.” She always wanted to be able to help and give back to her mother, as well as to make both her parents proud while honoring her late father’s memory.


Tell us about M.J Creations, the products & services you offer and your team.

“M.J Creations was named after me as the founder: Mwaalwa Justine Shikongo. I established the business in 2019, enlisting the help of an abroad supplier, and I currently own and manage it solely. M.J Creations specializes in customized products such as cellphone covers, plated gold & silver necklaces and bracelets, keychains, plated rings, pillowcases and gift hampers for specials occasions such as Valentine’s Day and birthdays. I offer my clients a chance to make their visions come true by creating products they come up with. As my business is still young, I plan on expanding in future by hiring fellow youth to help alleviate the unemployment rate.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“Spending most of my childhood and holidays in the village, I was exposed to business at an early age through my grandmother who runs a kiosk at home. She has inspired me to work hard to be able to afford the life that I desire. MJ Creations is a result of my imagination and creative personality. I turned my passion for giving special gifts into a business where people can now not only buy customized products for themselves but also for others. Being raised by strong black women like my mother has taught me the importance of being self-sufficient and independent.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“Being my own boss allows me overall creative control over my products & business, ensuring that I put out only the best. It gives me the benefit of being flexible with my time that way I can also focus on school, family and leisure. I have made a lot of mistakes earlier on, but have since focused on doing better and learning from failures as it is crucial for growth.

Did I always know I was going to be a business owner? Honestly not. I, like many other fellow Namibians, have always thought to do well in school, look to the government to get a good job and that’s it, which is why I credit myself for reaching this level of success in the first year for that matter. I do this for myself and I can only hope my actions inspire even just one other person to pursue their dreams and work for himself/herself.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“I work closely with my clients ensuring that I narrow down all their ideas into a solid, pragmatic product; my designs are unique; and lastly, I stress the importance of good quality & exceptional customer service. When you order a product from MJ Creations, you will be sure to find a friend in me as well. Furthermore, I pride myself on offering unique and infinite designs as per customer order, therefore no two products are the same.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“The obstacles I have encountered include delays in shipment (whereby the products do not arrive as scheduled), overbooking, and of course the global pandemic. It has affected me extensively by causing my business to come to a temporary but abrupt halt.

To combat these challenges, I had to make a few changes such as using a different shipment company, upgrading my packaging to improve customer satisfaction and I have set up a company website which provides a quick & easy way for customers to order. It also offers me consumer insight and allows for growth opportunities. Thus far the biggest challenge has been having to juggle being a good student whilst running a fast-growing business; to overcome this I have had to seek help from family members to help with deliveries and pickups. I credit myself as a strong-willed personality with the drive & motivation to succeed and keep going despite circumstances.”

What is your business philosophy?

“MJ Creations lives by the mantra ‘Dream it, we create it’

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“I would tell an upcoming entrepreneur that everything that is big once started small so you should never give up. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “You become what they believe not what they think or want.”; therefore, take the leap of faith and follow up your passion.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“Networking is crucial when starting a business; you need to interact with as many people as possible. Not only is it good for advertising yourself & your business, but it connects you with prospective mentors, partners & clients and provides insight into the latest industry trends. Networking also allows me to learn what type of people I am associating with and if they will add anything meaningful to my growth.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“Currently, M.J Creations does not employ anyone; however, it is in the pipeline to expand the team to include more people. I’d like to think that I am making a difference, even if it may only be within the circles of my family and friends, helping out with bills and so on – I am well on my way! Furthermore, every SME represents an opportunity to cut down on the scale of unemployment.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“All start-ups require a financial plan, a supportive background that will help grow the business, and of course confidence which goes considerably well with a focused mindset and self-discipline. Start-up owners should invest in themselves by attending business forums, reading books & being well-educated on how to run their business, and if possible, getting a mentor in the process.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“Most of M.J Creations’ products are shipped into Namibia and due to the pandemic & state of emergency lockdown, the shipping was moved from being delivered into the country via air transport to using the sea – that way I could still get my products in a timely fashion so as to not disappoint my clients. We decided to use FedEx and although it took longer than expected we managed to get all the products to Namibia. All products are shipped in tightly concealed plastic bags to avoid direct contact and to curb the spread of the virus.”


Website: www.mjcreationsnamibia.com

Email: info@mjcreationsnamibia.com

Tel: 085 205 0020

Instagram: @m.j_creations_ / @Mwaalwa_Mosante_Shikongo

Twitter: @MJCREATIONS7 / @Mwaalwa_Mosante



“Be persistent. Be consistent – and if you do not believe in yourself, how do you expect others to believe in you?”


Elzane Ludeke is a designer & entrepreneur who was born & raised in Namibia. She grew up on her family’s farm before moving to Windhoek to start school. Since primary school, Elzane knew that she wanted to become a fashion designer, drawing elegant dresses & costumes. Having grown up on the farm, she also had a love for leather since the beginning.

She went on to study Fashion Design at Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design in Stellenbosch. After graduating in 2013 as Top Achiever of the Year, Elzane was approached to pilot their very first 4th year specialization course, in Exotic Leather Accessory Design – comprising of theory for half the year & practical work in the relevant industry for the other half.

Her fashion career took shape when she started her practical work at Cape Cobra Leathercraft in Cape Town. After two months of interning, she was offered a job as a Product Developer for the next year. Unfortunately, she had some trouble with a work visa down the line but before she even moved back to Namibia, she was offered a job in Windhoek. On returning home, Elzane helped set up a factory & trained people to make leather handbags at a local company called Myeisha. She worked there for two years as a Designer & Production Manager. Those two years were what gave her the confidence & reassurance she needed to start her own company. In doing so, she fulfilled a lifelong dream, and I never knew I would be able to do it at the age of 27.

“It was a struggle to find a name for a brand which would hopefully be internationally recognized one day, but Amâna was a perfect fit at the end of the day. It means truthful in Damara, which compliments my idea & approach to the fashion industry. I always wanted a transparent, real brand. One which speaks to real, practical, working women of today and not only looks good on models in magazines.” And so, in 2018, Amâna was born.

Tell us about Amâna, the products & services you offer and your team.

“I am a one man show at this stage, managing everything from Design, Product Development to Bookkeeping & deliveries. Certain things I leave to professionals such as graphic design & photography. I work with an amazing photographer, and my best friend, Tara Mette who translates my ideas so beautifully by making the product come to life with her camera. I also work with Lisa Voigts, a graphic designer & illustrator, who designed my logo.

I design genuine leather handbags and have them manufactured overseas. I would love to grow & support the local manufacturing industry but having worked in the manufacturing industry I saw all shortcomings that we have here in Namibia, skilled labour & machinery being some of them. I also wanted to create a brand which produces higher quantities at international standards.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“My dad was one of the biggest inspirations to me. Since an incredibly young age I have been taught business in very practical terms of farming & managing cattle. These principles, I later learnt in life, are relevant to any business and if you understand them, you do not particularly need your MBA.

I also always wanted a brand which is true to myself & my view on the fashion industry –creating products which are unique & which I have always wanted but could not find in Namibia. My general love for leather & handbags, and my passion for innovation made it extremely easy to decide to start a business. I knew exactly what I wanted from it right from the start.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“I enjoy drinking a gin & tonic at 1PM on a Friday afternoon. As a creative and a designer, you sometimes find yourself in an almost writer’s block mindset and being your own boss allows you to manage your work according to how you feel. Times like those I focus on admin or financials, whereas some days you just want to be creative & feel inspired and you have the freedom to go with the flow.

It was not until I worked at Myeisha, doing anything & everything, and having the experience of basically setting up a company that I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I found myself enjoying the start-up and running a business more than I ever thought I would. It was then when I also started doing more online courses and reading more books about entrepreneurship. When I started my business and had more flexible hours, I joined the Future Females Windhoek team, which is a global female entrepreneurial movement. Being around other female entrepreneurs and start-ups is what kept me from giving up during the difficult times.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“My products are manufactured at a high standard & with specialized machinery compared to hand-made products in Namibia, which are just as beautiful but it is almost a completely different industry on its own and cannot really be compared. When it comes to South Africa, I have more competitors in the same field, making it slightly more difficult to differentiate my brand. Focusing on sustainability and slow fashion is crucial today and people are starting to realize the importance of buying quality over quantity, which is a massive advantage for Amâna.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“Every second day is a challenge, but then again, every other day is also a win.

To be honest, my biggest challenge was to have the right mindset. Having your own business is an absolute rollercoaster and you need to be prepared to fail, but you also need to acknowledge small (or big) successes. There were times where I had no work, and creating your own work is not always as easy as it seems, especially if you do not really know what you are doing. But being persistent, having a routine and taking care of your mental health first is key to having your own business. Your mind is your biggest asset, if you have the right mindset you can overcome any other problem and challenge.”

What is your business philosophy?

“Have confidence, even if you don’t know what you are doing.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“Be persistent. Be consistent – and if you do not believe in yourself, how do you expect others to believe in you?”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“Networking is at the very top of the list. One thing I noticed in Namibia, people are so afraid of competition that they avoid sharing ideas & knowledge. This is however changing, and people are becoming more open to collaboration. By connecting with leaders in the industry, who have already had their fails & successes, it can provide you with rich knowledge and you can learn from their experience in the field, saving you time and money.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“We have been working closely with manufacturers in the clothing industry in Windhoek, hoping to grow the fashion industry in terms of manufacturing locally and providing more jobs. This is however a long-term project along with another local designer, Conrad Prollius of Pinstripe Hippy. At this stage Amâna directly contributes to the society by sparking innovation & creation in young designers and hoping to motivate them to start their own venture where they can create more employment opportunities in the future.

We also have some exciting things planned a bit further down the pipeline where we would like to expand on the manufacturing industry and create a hub where local designers have access to these facilities and can start producing on a larger scale here in Namibia. There is a great demand to produce locally, but often the resources are not available or materials are expensive because it is being imported in small quantities. If we as designers stand together, instead of fearing the competition, we can create this opportunity of producing garments locally at an affordable price. This will uplift local designers, create job opportunities & boost the Namibian Fashion Industry as a whole.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“Focus on consistent and good quality. Know your own numbers. It is especially important to know what exactly is going on in your business, so do not leave the numbers just to the accountants. Familiarize yourself with absolutely every aspect of the business. If you have employees get to really know them as well. To ensure operations within your business are running smoothly, you need to know every problem that might occur & be ready for almost anything.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“Apart from losing sales during lockdown, I prefer to focus on the positive side of this pandemic. Since the start, my business was mainly run online. Being in Southern Africa, people are still hesitant to buy online and do not really trust the system. This was a great opportunity for people to step out of their comfort zones and start purchasing online. In terms of circulating information about COVID-19, we informed & educated the public and our consumers on the safety & convenience of buying online.”


Email: hello@amana.design

Website: www.amana.design

Facebook: @amana.accessories

Instagram: @amana_design

LinkedIn: @elzane.ludeke

“We are making it work and we believe that everyone can do it.”


Omwene-Tupopila Haitula, an entrepreneur. He grew up in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West, where he also went to primary school. Thereafter, his family moved to Windhoek where he attended & completed his secondary education at Windhoek Technical High School followed by his tertiary education at the University of Namibia. Tupopila graduated and obtained a Certificate in 2016 and is currently still furthering his studies at UNAM.
Tupopila tried job hunting shortly after obtaining his certificate but was unsuccessful. He thus decided to take a gap year in 2017, the same year in which Tupo Namfood cc was born. He considers it one of his biggest achievements yet and firmly believes that the future holds even more success.

Tell us about Tupo Namfood cc, the products & services you offer and your team.
“Tupo Namfood is a 100% Namibian owned upcoming company managed by myself. The main focus of the business is the provision of well-packaged traditional products at affordable rates. At the moment we have four products, of which two are major selling products. However, we are still planning on adding more goods which will be launched soon. The four products that we are currently providing are:
1. Omaadi Eengobe (Cow Butter)
2. Ondjove (Marula Oil)
3. Omashikwa (Sour Milk)
4. Chicken (Uncooked Marathon Chicken)

What inspired you to start this business?
“Tupo Namfood started off by experimenting with the traditional knowledge. We would produce cow butter and give it to friends & family members for them to experience the greatness that we have produced, bragging about who produced the best cow butter in the village and so on. Most friends would then ask for more and we thought of packaging and selling it. Since Cow Butter is a seasonal product, we thought of adding a product that could be sold even when the Cow Butter was out of season; thus we added the Ondjove/Marula Oil product to our line of production.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?
“Most importantly is being able to make decisions that are in favor of the business without having to seek authorization from a senior member in the business. Another part that I enjoy is the fact that I am not limited to fixed working hours on specific days – that freedom is the most important part of being my own boss.
I believe that I had always wanted to start a business and now that I’m here, I am happy about it and will continue learning how to improve.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?
“Our products are 100% natural, we do not add anything to our products, other than what is required to be there. When we say we have produce 100% Cow Butter, then believe that it is 100% Cow butter. The same can be said about our other three products. Our customers can testify to this. Our products are 100% natural.
Secondly, our products are branded with appealing designs that capture not only the local users’ attention but also international users that would want to try out our local products.
Lastly would be our packaging; our products are in convenient packages that enable the users to easily transfer the content from the package into the object they would like to use it in/on.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
“The hardest challenge we faced was getting our products to all the clients countrywide and even abroad, and still doing it sustainably. We overcame this challenge by coming up with efficient delivery methods, such as having deliveries on Tuesdays only in Windhoek.”

What is your business philosophy?
“Our philosophy is to one day be the number one producer and supplier of 100% locally produced food products in Namibia, for Namibians and the rest of the world.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
“Whatever business you are planning on venturing in, always know that it is not easy and make sure you give the best service, the hype will come and you must make use of it while still early.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?
“It is through networking that we acquire new clients, new partners. As a startup, you need to network with as many people as possible, you will never know what type of contribution that a person will bring to your business. Use every opportunity you get to network and see how that person or organization can contribute to your growth.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“Even though we are an SME, we are proud to say we are somehow playing a big role in fighting unemployment in our society; we have part-time and full-time employees. These are the people that make Tupo Namfood what it is today.
We strongly believe that there are other entrepreneurs, or yet-to-be entrepreneurs who are out there looking at what we do and are motivated which fuels the ecosystem. We are making it work and we believe that everyone can do it.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?
“One recommendation that I can make is mentorship of startups in Namibia. As a startup, one would likely be failing themselves by assuming you know everything from the get-go. It would be ideal to have one, if not several mentors guiding & advising an entrepreneur on different aspects of their operating industry. This will give them an idea of how things are done.”
Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

Our products are always prepared in a place where good hygiene is practiced, therefore the regulations that came with the COVID-19 pandemic were nothing new to us, we just had to continue doing what we were already doing. We have, however, reduced the amount of physical contact with our customers and have introduced the use of hand sanitizer at every exchange.”


Instagram: @Tupo_Namfood
Twitter: @ TNamfood
Windhoek: 081 436 3040
Oshakati: 081 765 6440

“Try to fail but don’t fail to try.”

June Shimuoshili is a media practitioner & the founder of unWrap Media. Since she was young, she carried within herself a desire to be in front of the camera and so once she had completed her high school, she enrolled at NUST for the Journalism & Communication Technology course. She went on to obtain both her Bachelor’s & Honors degrees. Today, June has three degrees in total, inclusive of her Media Management Postgraduate Diploma, obtained at Rhodes University on scholarship and at the same time, she is pursuing her masters degree.

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“I grew up in Namibia and South Africa where I caught the media bug from the many interaction television programs as well as creative media platforms. Today I specialise in arts and culture beats in my profession which has scored me my first award (Entertainment Journalist of The Year 2017 NAMAs). My passion is being not only the voice of the voiceless but a stern believer of uplifting creatives in Namibia through my work. I am also very passionate about empowering the girl child and as of this year I have been appointed as the Girl Up Namibian regional leader.”

– Girl Up is a UN Foundation initiative dedicated to securing equal opportunities for adolescent girls worldwide.

Tell us about unWrap Media, the products & services you offer and your team.

“unwrap.online is an entertainment news outlet, social media management & digital marketing agency. The team consists of two associates and myself plus interns. The unWrap team is made up of people who are passionate not only about uplifting the arts and culture sector of Namibia but it’s people who are fond of digital journalism. What maintains the name of unWrap is strictly teamwork as it is not a one person job and without that element, it wouldn’t have come this far.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“unwrap.online was founded on the basis that there are no media houses that are niched to create a Namibian celebrity culture as you would see worldwide. The arts and culture are one of the crucial aspects that can greatly contribute to a country’s GDP should the sector be well taken care of. We wanted to create a platform for the arts and culture that can accommodate all artists and creatives at the same time, affording all a chance to showcase their talents.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“Being one’s boss is not as enticing as it sounds but if there is one thing I can choose is the fact that it allows me a chance to do what I passionately love, my way.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“Our work is fair and balanced, affording both up & coming as well as established creatives a platform to have their talents showcased. We have also taken the risk of starting a business online in an industry that barely has a digital consumers acceptance. Our method of distribution is slowly getting conventional and the questions of why we are a media house but there is no hardcopy to show for it are becoming less. Lol.  Also the fact that we are the only consistent proudly Namibian arts and culture media house makes us quiet unique.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“It was very hard when we started last year (unwrap.online is a year & six months old) to penetrate the market given that we were providing a particularly new service (arts and culture is presumed as gossip largely) so potential clients were a bit skeptical about us; however, with consistency & determination we never gave up, kept knocking at the same doors. Today doors are not being shut in our faces immediately so that says something. We still have a long way to go but we live and we learn.”

What is your business philosophy?

“Try to fail but don’t fail to try.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“Be ready to learn, unlearn and grow a thick skin.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“Oh it’s super important. unwrap.online’s foundation is based on networks from those advising  on how to better the product, to those with the names & contact details of people who can help in a certain way, all the way to those that are simply cheering on in the background.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“unwrap.online if to be described in simple terms is a platform that showcases talents and creatives. So with this said, we are contributing in such a way that the creation and informtainment we provide is able to grow the brand of someone who can create employment for entertainers. We also have an internship program that allows eager media practitioners an opportunity to create a name for themselves as well as start their networking at an early stage of their career.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“Honestly, the registration process of a company is long, draining and one can easily lose hope in getting their business off the ground simply because of the many hoops to be jumped. The red tape can often be excessive. Perhaps we also need transparency when it comes to what is entailed when owning a company because there is a tendency of certain information only popping up after jumping one hoop and you find out there is xyz to be done too.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

We have always operated from our online platforms so there has been very little adjustment in terms of operations. Staying afloat is an area that has been affected, however, as so many of our clients have had to close down because they are not regarded as essential service providers; but it’s all about working with the means you have & finding new ways to survive. We are helping disseminate information through our articles & the response in terms of the clicks COVID-19 articles get, we are doing our part and we are being heard, read & seen definitely.”

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Website: www.unwrap.online

Email: content@unwrap.online

Facebook: unWrap.online

Instagram: @unwrap.online

Twitter: @UnwrapO

 

“The best time to start is now!”

William Tulimeameno Hangula is a civil engineer by profession and the founder of Telka Construction. William was born in Okalongo and grew up in Ongwediva, where he also attended primary school. He went on to matriculate at Negumbo Secondary School, which then paved the way for his journey at the University of Namibia. However, upon obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree (honors) in Civil Engineering, he wasn’t able to immediately find a job in his field of study. He eventually landed a job in consultancy soon after graduating, a position he kept for three years. In 2019, he was selected for the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Pretoria, South Africa where he attended a training session, specifically in Entrepreneurship. Consequently, it spurred the young engineer on to start a business of his own.

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Tell us about Telka Construction, the products and/or services you offer as well as the team behind the startup (if any).

Telka Construction (Pty) Ltd is an engineering construction company, founded in 2016. We specialize in civil and structural projects. Previously known as Telka Investment cc, Telka has completed several projects to date. We are a 100% Namibian bona fide company with our headquarters in Ongwediva.”

The Telka Construction team is made up of:

  1. William Hangula – Founder & Managing Director
  2. Martin Mulundu – Director: Civil & Structural
  3. Matias Mwanyangapo – Foreman: Civil
  4. Simon Hinanamunhu – Foreman: Electrical

What inspired you to start this business?

“I was inspired to start Telka Construction due to the vast opportunities & sustainability offered by engineering in Namibia, as well as a lack of professionalism that I’ve seen in the construction industry. Namibia is still a developing country so there is quite a fair amount of investment to be made by government and the private sector to develop the country and Telka aims to be a part of that.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“The freedom to craft my own journey is what I enjoy most. I also prefer scheduling my own time. But also very important, pursuing the idea of having young people contributing to the development of our country with our own agendas inspires me more.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“It may not be tangible but the high level of professionalism and quality service that we provide at Telka Construction certainly stands out. It leads to us providing all-round customer service and satisfaction which accordingly sets us apart and keeps our clients coming back.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

The biggest challenge I faced thus far is cash flow. It is never easy to secure funding for a new project. Commercial banks may advertise ‘Support for SMEs’ but will still request for collateral, which most new businesses don’t have. Nonetheless, there are a few good friends and private investors that believe in us and continue to help us greatly.”

Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?

“I don’t really have a business philosophy I stand by, but I strongly believe in self-development. Learning from experience, reading, studying, learning new technology and skills etc. An entrepreneur has to keep on learning.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“Competition is very high. Due to the industry seeming somewhat flooded, everybody knows everybody. There are many players so one needs patience and perseverance. Protect your brand – you need to always deliver as you promise. Put your focus on building a good reputation as opposed to chasing profits. You will eventually make the money. Also, the best time to start is now!”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“Networking is one of the recipes for success in this industry. You need to connect with people and organizations to open up doors. It is also important to note that networking shouldn’t be limited to one’s own industry; you could find ways to grow your business through relationships with people & startups in completely different sectors.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“A primary social contribution role we took up is training young artisans and technicians from vocational schools. We want to give opportunities to the up-and-coming ones to gain exposure.

In nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia? Not quite yet, but it is something we will surely consider to start doing.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?

“My recommendations would be to startups themselves: studying their market, understanding how they’d operate therein & identifying loopholes for them to have an advantage over their competition. Additionally, startups should learn to embrace change and quickly adjust as necessary. We must always be on a look out for the latest technology. You don’t want your bookshop to close just days after Amazon opens its doors in Namibia.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“Firstly, we had to apply for a working permit from Government in order to continue operating. We are also very strict in following all regulations set out to curb the spread of COVID-19 at our work place. We have further placed an advert in the newspaper that encourages our customers to stay at home during the lockdown period.”

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Cell: +264 81 607 7036 / +264 81 222 0871

Email: projects@telka.com.na

Facebook / Instagram / Twitter: @telkaconstruction

“Don’t be good, be great.”

Teofilus Tanga-omwene Adolf, better known as Adolf Dinholazo, is a self-proclaimed creative giant, graphic designer & website developer and the founder of DGD Namibia. He hails from the town of Ondangwa, in the northern part of Namibia. Having matriculated at Otjikoto Senior Secondary School in Tsumeb, Teofilus then proceeded to pursue a Bachelor of Geo-information Technology at the Polytechnic of Namibia (now NUST) in 2012. He studied until his 2nd year, when he was forced to drop out due to difficult circumstances. From Polytechnic, he served as a highly-trained Marine in the Namibian Navy between 2014 & 2017. He left the Marines to work as the Creative Director & Head of Marketing at AfriSay Vocational Training Center in Walvis Bay in 2018. It was during this time that Teofilus was able to gain valuable design skills through online courses and YouTube tutorials, with his focus mainly on Adobe Suite. He then began creating content as a side hustle until the income began to massively surpass that of his office job. That was when he made the decision to become a full-time entrepreneur – a journey which gave birth to Dinholazo Graphic Designs.
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Tell us about DGD Namibia, the products and/or services you offer as well as the team behind the startup.
“DGD Namibia, an acronym which stands for “Dinholazo Graphic Designs Namibia”, is a creative agency that provides services such as content creating, branding, advertising and website development & hosting. Our foremost objective is to bring to reality exactly what our clients have envisioned.”

The startup comprises a team of three, namely:
Teofilus Adolf – Founder/Creative
Costa Unandapo – Projects Director
Lilongeni Nakale – Social Media Manager/Typist

What inspired you to start this business?
“It is basically the story of a hobby-turned-business because at first I used to do still & motion graphics for my own personal use until people started asking me to create graphics for them – that’s when I decided to turn it into a business. The faith, goodwill and support from the people has since been unbelievable and that’s why we’re still in existence to date.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?
“Growing up, I wanted to be a Geologist, although art played an enormous role in my life as individuals around me always said I have a creative eye when they would see my work. Adaptability has to be the thing I enjoy most about being the startup’s front man. Other than that, it is the constant need & desire to develop and improve one’s self each and every day.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?
“It has to be the effort and commitment. I am of the firm belief that by simply taking a gander at an item of ours, one can tell the measure of sweat and attention to detail that has been poured into a product during the creative process. Also, we generally attempt to show improvement over our past work.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
“There aren’t too many challenges of note that most entrepreneurs aren’t already familiar with, however, one that is significant to me is the pressure to grow as an entrepreneur. That is one of ways one can get ahead of the competition. I think improving is a practice that should be applied every single day and eventually you will get to where they need to be.”

Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?
“Don’t be good, be great. These words by my favorite rapper Jay-Z keep me on my toes whenever I face a project. I believe it helps me deliver exceptional work because it reminds me to go above & beyond to create something great.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
Do it. Have optimum faith to start the process. There is absolutely no reason for you not to pursue a career in graphics; especially on the grounds that the world is moving towards a world where almost everything would be digital at an unfathomable pace. To have the option to make your own content or products will reap you great fruits. Also, do not borrow large amounts of money to fund your startup early on; rather spare the little you’re getting from each project to fund its growth.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?
“It is very vital – most startups emerge because of referrals and that stems from networking. You cannot make it alone and as the saying goes Iron sharpens iron.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“We help maintain a modern and professional look for our clients’ businesses, events, brands, products, etc. which attributes to the growth of graphic design within the creative industry. I have also committed to grooming and mentoring three emerging designers and it is with confidence that I say they will be great creatives in the near future.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?
“I think one significant recommendation I can make would be financial support, from government & the private sector, relative to the industry wherein a startup operates. Most startups struggle or eventually fizzle out because they lack the funds to advance their project and that assistance would go a long way.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?
“DGD has still been operating virtually during the lockdown, creating digital projects & products for our clients. However, the pandemic has forced us to drastically reduce our products’ fees in order to accommodate those who are severely affected. We are optimistic that soon, we’ll be operating at a level close to where we were before.”
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Cell: +264 81 214 5040 / +264 81 795 7611
Email: dinholazographicdesigns@gmail.com
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter: Dinholazo Graphic Designs

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me & because of that I have no limitations.”

Sarde Amadhila is a social entrepreneur and commercial & wedding photographer. He is also the face behind Studio 7 Nam – one of the country’s most distinguished photo studios. He grew up in Oluno in the northern part of Namibia and then later moved to Omaalala. He matriculated from Otjikoto Secondary School then pursued Accounting at UNAM until his 3rd year, when he was forced to leave school to work and save money because he didn’t have funding.
He initially found work as a teacher between 2013 and 2017, teaching Geography (Grade 8 – 10) and English (Grade 4 & 10) at Evale Combined School & Onkumbula Combined School. He felt like it was his duty to make sure the Namibian child had a good education and did so well that he garned up several awards as a teacher, including 85% Pass Rates. Nevertheless, his innate passion eventually came calling and in 2016 he decided to take photography seriously as a full-time career.
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Tell us about Studio 7 Nam, the products & services you offer and your team.
“Studio 7 Nam, formerly called ShootSanNam, started off as somewhat of a part-time job for me. At the time, I had bought a camera with which I’d take pictures of the children at school. One day, someone found me buying lights & asked if I was a photographer. Something told me to tell her “Yes!” and fast forward from that encounter, she hired me to shoot her wedding. Consequently, I began to receive calls from more clients to shoot their ceremonies, however, it slowly put pressure on my work as I was still teaching. I had to make the difficult decision to sacrifice the future of the Namibian child or to follow my passion & this opportunity to grow – and that is how Studio 7 came to be.”
Studio 7 Nam cc offers photography & video production, photography mentorships & workshops as well as advertising.”

The Studio 7 team consists of 6 people, including Sarde:
1. Eva-Liisa David – Head Photographer | Marketing, Manages northern studio.
2. Sarde Amadhila – Head Video Productions | Founder.
3. Tiofelus Kaputu – Assistant Photographer | Announcement Day Photographer.
4. Frieda Luanda – Assistant Photographer | Manages Windhoek studio.
5. Sackaria Ndjambula – Assistant Photographer | Announcement Day Photographer.
6. Michael Markus – Freelance Photographer | Provides software support.

What inspired you to start this business?
“My dad was and still is a businessman. At that time, he ran a car sales company and I would always be with him, shadowing. The fact that he, and most of my dad’s family, was into entrepreneurship it intrigued me as much as it seemed daunting. I also believed that if I put in the time and effort to learn that I could add value to the photography & wedding industries with my own flair and skills. Eventually I pursued entrepreneurship for myself. I also live by a verse, Phillipians 4:13 – that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me & because of that I have no limitations.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?
“I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I didn’t realise that I wanted it this much until I was in it; it’s as though I’m picking up stuff even after all this time. Being my own boss provides me with the challenge of having to push myself because I was a bit relaxed; now my drive is different and I’m motivated.

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?
“I feel that what sets me apart is the beauty retouching and my understanding of the relationship between light & photography. I do both outdoor & studio portraits, of which I retouch images by enhancing a person’s features while still keeping the anatomy of a face – enhancing beauty but not changing the person.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
“Not many people know that I was robbed right after my first and my second gigs; I could’ve given up but I used my savings to continue. Further challenges included trying to get it right with corporate & commercial photography (which required a different level of photography), struggling to create a presentation that could sell my work and lastly, the art of good customer service which I wasn’t familiar with. This translated into low sales and having to spend more on marketing & advertising. I also didn’t start off with financial literacy so I struggled with knowing how & what to spend money on.
I overcame my challenges by booking sessions with financial and marketing advisors as well as other photographers that were in the industry to help me understand the market better than I did.”

What is your business philosophy?
“My philosophy is to provide customers with a service that exceeds their expectations by going the extra mile so that at some point, the business and the reputation that has been built will be able to speak for itself.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
“Understand the basics of running a business and what it means to be the business. Learn every aspect of how to take photograph and what makes a picture. Everything involved is important – from the lenses to the lighting to posing & editing – it’ll set you apart from other photographers.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?
“Networking is the whole business! It is what helped and continues to help everyone get to where they are. It provides insights of the industry, how one can work around their respective business challenges or even help you identify a niche.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“Through Studio 7, I am able to assist young creatives & enthusiasts by encouraging & helping them with opportunities to take up photography as a more than a hobby but a business too. That in turn fuels the entrepreneurial scene because eventually they can have an independent photography business of their own.”

What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?
“The start-up scene could do with more financial and business support; funding of projects, mentorships and so on. Start-up owners can also benefit from workshops that focus on ethics, customer service, etc. A few organizations have measures in place but there is still a need to reach out and support more start-ups.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?
“We have had to do move our Photography Workshop sessions online as well as selling our Photoshop tips & tricks to help photographers retouch better. Reducing our prices was a necessary evil too, in order to break-even. We had stopped operating in-line with the lockdown regulations, however, as the lockdown has been lifted, and we are wedding & commercial photographers, we have resumed work while taking precautions such as carrying sanitizers, wearing masks and using zoom lenses to protect ourselves and our clients by keeping to the advised 1m distance.”
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Website: www.studio7nam.com
Tel: 081 309 1692
Facebook: Studio 7 Nam
Instagram: @studio7nam & @ studio7portraits
Twitter: @Studio7nam

“Self-discipline is of great significance for any entrepreneur – I cannot stress that enough.”

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Albertina Hamukwaya, better known as DJ Alba, is an entrepreneur, renowned DJ & one half of AfroBerries and the founder of House of Nalo. She was born in the north of Namibia at a village called Oikango (near Ongwediva). She, however, considers herself a coastal girl having moved to Henties Bay with her father when she was young for her primary education, and later to Swakopmund where she completed high school. Thereafter, she made the move to Windhoek for her tertiary education, with the aim of studying Business Administration. Due to influence from her family though, Alba later changed her course to Science.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as planned because Alba herself was unsure about what to study. She thus decided to take time off to work as a Business Development assistant for 4 years at a Supplies & Logistics company. Here her love for business began to blossom, which gave her the reassurance she needed about what she actually wanted to study and possibly do, career-wise. While working, she was also picking up DJ’ing gigs and it was around that time that her music career as DJ Alba started taking off. After being retrenched from her job, there was both a need and an opportunity to revive her small bracelet/jewelry business: Afrodeepstah (named after a House music genre) – and so House of Nalo was born in 2017. Three years down the line and the startup has gone on to be a two-time nominee in the Simply You Magazine Awards as well as bagging Second place in the Oshikandela NMLO Challenge 2019.

Tell us about House of Nalo and the products & services you offer.

“House of Nalo initially started with bracelets. My love for bracelets can be traced as far back as 2010; looking at my Facebook pictures now makes me cringe at some of those bracelet combinations and how I would wear up to 10 of them on 1 wrist!

I went on to add earrings and neckpieces, which are to be properly launched later during the year. House of Nalo aims to be a company that can bring ideas to life, which is why we have a special Personalization aspect. Even though Namibia is so limited with production material we always try to create items that bring value to our clients, as per their specific needs.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“I have always loved creating things. Growing up I considered myself a really weird kid [laughter]; I would ride bikes and play soccer with the boys but I also loved sewing so I always had the best-dressed doll out of my female friends. My mother had a sewing machine so sometimes she would help me put the clothes I sketched together, otherwise I would do it with a needle and thread. When I started making bracelets and necklaces for myself, it led to my friends asking me about my pieces which is basically how this all started.”

What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?

“Never in a million years did I think of entrepreneurship for myself but I always had good grades in the subject line. However, the feeling of creating something that people actually love is what fueled me. It prompted me to research business concepts and study people who turned their talent and passion into a feasible business. These same principles are the ones I apply when it comes to marketing my brand in terms of music. Being my own boss means I’m more flexible with my time, yes, but it also requires a lot of sacrifice and I constantly remind myself that I have to manage my time too. Self-discipline is of great significance for any entrepreneur; I cannot stress that enough. Being your own boss also requires you to radically change your mindset, this is a vital skill to possess as a business owner.”

What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?

“House of Nalo offers a Personalization Section, wherein our clients have the option of creating a design of their own or customizing our existing designs to meet their specifications. This process adds a human element to our brand as we get to learn about our clients and their preferences. By doing this, we indirectly gain insight on where to possibly improve. People also love exclusivity so we try not to produce too many of the same items to preserve that element of exclusivity.”

What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?

“Most of our Namibian and African shaped earring designs are hand-sketched on paper and taken to laser-cutters for cutting so I was shocked to find a Chinese shop that had exactly replicated 2 of our designs for resale. But instead of taking major action, I looked at it from a different angle because I must be doing something right if my designs have gotten as far as worthy of being copied.”

Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?

“I have quite a few but if I have to highlight one it would be: Always create value for your clients, they come first. The effect you have on your clients is the most valuable currency you can acquire.”

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?

“It’s alright to draw inspiration from someone else’s product but the problem comes when you want to copy and paste that exact idea; it’s always best to be innovative because we cannot all be inventors. Try to avoid involving too many people in your business too early on; study your business structure and know how everything runs before you involve other parties like partners and investors. Have a clear plan on where you want your business to be in the next e.g. 5 years and remember to put providing value to clients above anything else.”

How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?

“It’s an enormous part of any business model. Networking allows you to explore potential growth areas for your business. Sharing ideas and tips with people in the same field is especially fruitful as you get to learn about their experiences and how they overcame them. In contrast, specialty networking should not be your only focus though because conversing with experts in different business areas or industry can really assist you in getting a feel of how to navigate your business onto the right path.”

What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“Unfortunately we are not big enough to employ people just yet, but hopefully by the end of this year or as the state of emergency improves all this will change. Rome was not built in a day so consistency is always key to longevity. Every SME greatly contributes to the growth of the economy as they help keep money circulating in and around the country.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, are facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation and/or assisted in disseminating information, combatting the spread of the virus, etc.?

“House of Nalo currently runs on an e-commerce business model, thus our focus has been trying to stay afloat through digital means like social media. Sales have slightly decreased due to the outbreak which is understandable as people will opt to save more than spending. However, despite not knowing what lies ahead, we are hopeful and we keep the faith because this will pass.”

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Cell: +26481 200 0165

Email: hercc23@gmail.com

Facebook: House of Nalo

Instagram: @house_of_nalo

Twitter: @houseofnalo1