Powered by ZigaForm version



“Go for it and give it your all, always! Allow failure to be your stepping stone to reaching your goals and dreams.”

Julia Nambinga is a fifth-year Medical student, entrepreneur and the founder of Lago Medical Supplies.

Born and bred in the northern part of Namibia, Julia attended primary school in Ongwediva at Charles Anderson and later on moved to the Oshikoto region to attend and complete her secondary education at Oshigambo High School.

Upon completion of high school, Julia was drawn to the field of Medicine. She consequently applied and received admission to study towards a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery at the University of Namibia. She is currently in her 5th, and second last, year of her studies.

With a passion for her field and the keen eye of an entrepreneur, Julia started a venture that would provide a solution to a problem faced by her peers and fellow health professionals – and so, Lago Medical Supplies was born.

Tell us about Lago Medical Supplies, when you founded it, what inspired you to start this business, the products and/or services you offer as well as the team behind your start-up.

“Lago Medical Supplies (LMS) is a growing medical supplies company that was founded in 2018. It is a female-led start-up company that aims to provide affordable and high-quality healthcare wear and equipment to health professionals in Namibia.

In 2019, 19-year-old Annely Ipangelwa, an alumnus of St. Paul’s College as well as their former head girl, was added onto the team. Initially, she joined the team as my assistant and eventually she was promoted to Managing Director. She has been a phenomenal addition to the team!

Being a medical student at the time, I saw that there was a need for medical attire and how availability & affordability was an issue, seeing that the only retailer was based on the other side of town and costs were not accommodating to students. 

I identified the niche in catering for the growing population of Medical Students in Namibia as well as all health professionals alike. The idea was to create a system that is easily accessible to anyone across the country, allowing them to purchase items at the tip of their fingertips and have it delivered to their doorstep in the blink of an eye. 

Currently, goods provided by LMS include:

  • an assortment of medical scrubs,
  • lab coats,
  • stethoscopes,
  • oximeters,
  • penlights,
  • digital BP machines,
  • thermometers,
  • crocs and slide ins.

LMS is currently in the process of branching into oxygen flow meters, clinical supplies and an array of other medical related items.”

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

“One of the biggest challenges I faced was juggling both medical school and running a business efficiently. However, this was mostly overcome by being transparent and communicating with clients when inconveniences set in. I am also surrounded by a good team that is willing to push and overcome any obstacles we face.

The interaction between my career and my business is both antagonistic and synergistic. The demanding nature of both positions has been my greatest challenge, but being on the ground and leveling with health professionals has provided me with immeasurable insight.

I always tell the story, that you only know what your customers need once you put yourselves in their shoes. Luckily and unluckily for me, I am in their shoes.”

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

“Go for it and give it your all, always! Allow failure to be your stepping stone to reaching your goals and dreams.”

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

“Yes, to diligently deliver timely and efficient customer service, and to continuously improve on our skills and knowledge as a business.”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in start-ups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“Of importance to us is communication with clients whenever inconveniences set in and always making time to listen and try to meet their needs as much as we can. Of course some things are beyond our control but we believe constant communication with clients is very important.

As a team we have regular meetings and discuss our interactions with customers whether positive or negative. We brainstorm on how these interactions can be improved or enhanced, and in conditions of excellent customer service, we discuss how we can recreate these experiences.

Customer satisfaction, like most things, is extremely subjective and we’ve learnt that communicating expectations and capacities on both the sides of service delivery and service receipt helps enhance satisfaction tenfold.”

How do you see charity and nonprofit work overlapping with your business?

“We  stand by the biblical belief that the more you stretch out your hand to give, the more you make space for what’s to come. With that said, at the moment we are donating a certain portion of profits from some of our items towards raising funds to provide sanitary towels for the less privileged.

In the future, the idea is to give back to students most especially those who are struggling with necessities as being a student comes with a number of challenges. As our business grows we intend to give in alignment to our growth. It is of great importance to inject into our communities what is injected into our business.”

In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?

“Being a business that is within one of the few industries that saw a significant expansion since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is safe to say that our services have been needed more than we expected.

For example, the provision of pulse oximeters was greatly fueled by their increased need in monitoring affected patients. The comfort of health workers during the never-ending and daunting shifts in the COVID Wards raised the discussion around comfortable attire among them and we responded by introducing footwear that is durable and increases comfort. 

It is safe to say our biggest lesson has been flexibility and endurance in trying times. When demand was high, but our output was decreased due to lockdowns, it felt almost impossible to reach the finish line; but banding together as a team and practicing patience was extremely beneficial in keeping us afloat.”

Email: lagomedicalsupplies@gmail.com

Cell: +264 81 785 5400

Facebook: Lago Medical Supplies

Instagram: @lago_medical_supplies

“This is my passion and I know I was born for this!”

Secilia Abisai is a final-year Education student, entrepreneur and the founder of Tuvawa Investment CC.

Juggling between her academics and entrepreneurship has been no easy task, however, the young businesswoman has been pulling it off.

“Having a job has definitely been a challenge on its own, as I am required to fulfill both my duties as an employee and an entrepreneur. Luckily, I am blessed with a team of two supportive workers who make everything possible for me.”

“What inspired me is that I have always had a passion for agriculture, plants and gardening itself. This pushed me to pursue this avenue of business, because it allows me to kill two birds with one stone by following my passion while generating an income.”

Even though the industry is fairly occupied, Secilia firmly believes in the saying that ‘There is enough bread for everyone.’ As one of few women in the industry, she is inspired to work even harder. She has embraced her work and is delighted to be making progress in Garden Landscaping.

“Our vision is to expand our business and to own an office one day, enabling us to assist our clients in both Horticulture and Landscaping. This is my passion and I know I was born for this!”

Tell us more about Tuvawa Investment (Tuvawa Landscaping), what inspired you to start this business and the services you offer.

“Tuvawa Investment cc, founded in 2019, specialises in garden landscapes. Our services include:

  • Garden designing;
  • Artificial grass installations;
  • Irrigation system installations;
  • Garden & Lawn maintenance i.e. pruning & mowing; and
  • All garden-related works.

We design gardens for both local and commercial purposes, be it small or large scale, and our unique, modern designs allow customers to get customized garden plans. We offer consultations on how to maintain different plants as well as the general lawn, as well as providing clients with advice on how to go about setting up hydroponics/aquaponics and greenhouses.

Tuvawa Investment CC was founded with little to no knowledge, a chunk of fear and lots of love for gardening! This year in 2021, I have made major strides in the growth of the business and I have managed to bring Tuvawa to a satisfactory stage through marketing initiatives to drive awareness on social media.

I currently employ two hardworking workers and I hope our team will continue to grow!”

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

“To be honest, as long as you are still living and breathing, challenges will always be there.

Starting up and bringing the business to a certain stage was a challenge on its own:

  • the start-up capital,
  • the time needed to carry out the work, and
  • the marketing & content creation for my business pages.

But I can proudly say that I have overcome most if not all of my challenges. Being a full-time employee allowed me to save money to buy my equipment and tools. I had to sacrifice my off-days to afford me enough time to complete the business work. Thank God, I have trustworthy, passionate employees who are always willing to learn and as of today, have acquired the skills and the knowledge to do their job independently without me. They are the ones now doing much of the work so I can spend a larger portion of my time creating content at least once a week.”

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

“You need to have what is referred to as the 3Ps: patience, passion and people skills – only then are you able to succeed; not only in the agricultural sector, but anywhere else. Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

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

“A big YES! My philosophy is “To dedicate one’s self to ensuring your clients are happy and satisfied with your work!” If they are not happy or satisfied, then neither are we. Another is “It’s best to do one thing really, really well.” referring to putting your focus on completing one task well, at a time.”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“As a small business, who I am and the values I carry translates to those of the business. I am a person of Loyalty, Integrity, Respect and Kindness.

Those attributes have been my greatest assets thus far, and have gotten me to be where I am today.”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in start-ups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“I am not a perfectionist but I love the process of learning and doing my best to ensure that my customers are happy with my services. What is most crucial is to pay close attention to your customers’ needs; this allows you to know and thus fully meet those needs. I make sure that I put in all efforts into my work because at the end of the day, my services represent the business.”

How significant is collaboration in the growth & scaling of a start-up?

“Collaboration is very important. Teamwork makes the dream work, and I can honestly say that one can go much further through collaborating with others. I have seen businesses that are succeeding by working together so my advice is to connect and get your business in touch with others in the same industry. This really helps!”

Email: tuvawainvestmentcc@gmail.com

Cell: +26485 278 4169

Facebook: Tuvawa

Instagram: @tuvawalandscaping

“Manifest the Creator Within! There is so much creative potential in many Namibians.”

Cislé Jacobs is a Namibian lawyer, entrepreneur and the founder of Intrik Consulting Services.

“Growing up in Gibeon, a small village in the Hardap region, I remember spending my free time walking around visiting people and having interesting conversations. I have always been curious about the human mind, its machinations and creations.  Strangely, most of them were much older than I but seemed pleased by my company and incessant questioning.”

Cislé left home to attend boarding school, living in a hostel from the age of 10. She attended several different schools leading up to her matriculation from Academia High School in 2011. After her high school graduation, she joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Namibia for the LLB (Honors) programme. In her final year, Cislé chose Intellectual Property (IP) as an elective– a decision she considers to be one of the best she has made thus far in her life.

“My place in law became clear as I fell in love with IP because it was finally a marriage between my reverence for creativity and the trained skill of IP law. The beauty of IP should be seen in its simplest form: human beings are moved by ideas; we solve, we improve and we create, and that ought to be recognised and rewarded.”

The sparkly-eyed, young graduate went on to complete her LLM (specialising in IP) at the University of Cape Town. Cislé, it seems, always knew that she would create an entity focused on IP in Namibia, and that it was simply a matter of time. Upon acquiring her Masters, Cislé joined Murorua, Kurtz, Kasper Incorporated law firm and went through her candidacy and Justice Training under their tutelage. That was followed by a move to PwC where she worked in Risk Management. During her free time, Cislé also worked as a Company Secretary for a fishing company, Joka Two Fishing Pty ltd. Lastly, she held a position as Assistant Group Company Secretary for the Momentum Metropolitan Group of Companies and was later promoted to Group Legal Adviser.

Now, after accumulating various skills, knowledge and experience, Cislé has started her own business – Intrik.

Tell us more about Intrik, what inspired you to start this business and the services you offer.

“As I said above, I knew in my final year at law school that I would create something like this. So, in many ways Intrik was conceived in 2015. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, conceptualising and building it in my mind. However, it was not until 2020 that my ideas started to manifest. Intrik is divine inspiration from name, logo, value proposition and intent. It all came to me in dream and epic vision!

Whilst inspiration was divine, my intrigue of humans and our ability to innovate in creative ways laid the groundwork. I also saw how much value understanding and integrating IP into our society, business and economy can produce. A quick analysis of the fastest developing economies of the world would show a parallel growth in IP research & development, strategy and number of IP protection sought in said economy.

Intrik was incorporated in 2020 but officially launched in 2021. We protect your Intellectual Property. Intellectual property protection is technical and frustrating. We provide creators with a Strategy to protect, optimize and monetize their new products, innovations, brands and creative works to continue innovating confidently and well-informed.

Intrik services are divided into three specific IP rights, namely:

  1. Trademarks,
  2. Copyright, and
  3. Industrial Design.

Services for each include protection, legal representation, contract and portfolio management. What this exactly entails is listed on the Intrik website in much detail.”

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

“One can never underestimate one’s own ignorance. There is a lot of excitement that goes into finding your passion and identifying at least where to start. However, as a budding entrepreneur I have come to realise that what I know is not enough.

As a new business owner, you come to acknowledge that you have to take care of almost everything. I realised that I needed to understand exactly what it is I will offer, the channels through which clients get in touch with the business, how to market (branding and advertising), what the operational costs would be, how to price the services, how to engage regulations and regulators regarding tax, finance and incorporation. The list goes on and it is certainly easier said than done. It was overwhelming because knowing what needs to be done to build a business is miles apart from knowing how to do it. I made mistakes that were costly, both in money and time, regarding my website development and payment methods.

Fortunately, I accepted that I do not know enough. I read a lot, joined a short business course and listened to experts. Then I sat down for two months and created each brick that would eventually form part of the foundation of the business. I broke down the business model, clarified the Intrik brand story, worked on a social media strategy, and developed the website.

Equally, if not more important is the work you need to do on yourself as an entrepreneur. Your commitment, habits, behaviour, and accountability. The entrepreneurial responsibility is one of courage and humility and you need to make sure you can bear it. I heard somewhere once that the entrepreneurial journey has more to do with how much the entrepreneur grows than that of the business. I find that to be true in my case.”

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

“Manifest the Creator Within! There is so much creative potential in many Namibians. The exercise of this creativity in material and tangible forms is what we at Intrik aim to inspire in our community. There is uncertainty and/or fear in one’s ability and that is not uncommon but our role is to encourage and intrigue our countrymen to take the hero’s journey, uncover and create despite the possibility of failure.”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“Intrik company values are to:

  • Be a Guide

In everything we do our aim is to help the creator win! Find out what their finish line is and help them get there.

  • Be Creative

We are inspired by creativity and creators; it simply follows that all our services must be approached with creative solutions.

  • Be Grateful

Creativity is a gift and being invited into the creator’s journey to success is an honor.”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in start-ups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“This is, indeed, something one needs to be aware of and mitigate. The good news is we have access to so many cool and efficient tools on the internet. Unless clients call me directly on the phone, most interact with the business through the website which is set up with an add-on software where I’ve created automated emails received by the clients immediately once they activate a particular button on the website to address their need. I am always notified and available to make the call to the client.

Furthermore, to keep myself honest I have integrated a feedback review which clients can easily access. This helps to track and improve services and customer relationships. Mistakes will be made that is fact but it is how fast you are capable of fixing them that differentiates the successful start-ups from those that fail.”

How do you see charity and non-profit work overlapping with your business?

“Charity and non-profit work is crucial to Intrik’s role in our community. We have created the iKre8 arm of Intrik. The iKre8 Project aims to address the development challenge in two phases:

1. Phase 1 – IP Awareness: IP is technical and is confusing for the layman. This will be the introduction Phase aimed at making IP simple at an elementary level to build the foundation for Phase 2. We will break down the different kinds of IP, the rights and benefits derived from protection and commercial potentials inherent to IP through practical illustrations and examples known to the communities. Simultaneously, we will launch the Creative Economy Podcasts (interview based) which will deal with commercial perspectives and strategies on sustainable navigation of creators in Namibia and innovation and creative mindset, approach and expression.

2. Phase 2 – Training: Based on data collected from Phase 1 we will customize a training course intended to provide a fairly extensive look into IP, particularly focused on IP strategy for asset optimization for monetization. As is in the name “iKre8” it is important to train the participants on the creative mindset and innovative thinking so they can actually create – through design thinking techniques, understanding the creative cycle, and taking advantage of inspiration.

iKre8 Project is an innovative solution as it is threefold, namely: spreading IP awareness & understanding; touching on the nature of creativity to spark interest in creating itself; and the extra mile on continuously providing practical, real-life information and knowledge regarding the overall commercial view on IP through the Creative Economy Podcast. The existing solutions simply address the protection for IP and BIPA has yet to implement the NIIP due to lack of funds amongst other factors. iKre8 has not been piloted but besides the IP Audit Findings I’ve seen the demand for the information through the consulting service.”

What role does your start-up play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“All “aha” moments are when ideas for businesses are conceived. These ideas manifest into tangle products and services which are intrinsically IP. All businesses have IP assets from the product or service they provide to the company brand which is trademark protected. The sooner we realise in Namibia that one cannot have a conversation about business and economic growth and development without IP strategy – the better our competitive edge will be in the global competitive market.

To assume that your IP is not important as a start-up and failing to identify the IP from the get-go could be detrimental to the success of your start-up. It is Intrik’s role to start this conversation and provide these essential services to entrepreneurs in Namibia.”

How significant is collaboration in the growth & scaling of a start-up?

“It is paramount! This makes organizations like Launch Namibia so valuable because we all need assistance particularly in the beginning.”

What recommendations would you make towards the advancement of start-ups, and/or the improvement of their operating conditions?

“Entrepreneurs need to take into account a number of things when building a successful start-up, but one that is equally important as any aspect of business is IP which many do not know, forget or delay addressing. We live in a digitized global market and the countries winning at that game have proper IP policies in place and encourage the protection of IP for creativity and innovation, which in turn incentivizes further innovative productivity. We need to remember we are competing with them.”

Email: info@intrik-consulting.com

Website: www.intrik-consulting.com

Cell: +264 81 653 7820

Facebook: Intrik Consulting

Instagram: @cisle_ikre8

Twitter: @CisleJ

One can’t prepare for everything, but one needs a backup plan in case something goes south.”

Helge Hoffmann is a Namibia-born entrepreneur and the founder of the local casual fashion & accessories brand Namibwear. Helge grew up in Windhoek, where he spent most of his life. After finishing his school years at the Delta School- and Secondary School Windhoek, matriculating in 2006, Helge worked as an IT Intern before applying at the AAA School of Advertising in Cape Town, South Africa where he had the opportunity to study graphic design.

After a very tough first year at the school, his understanding and passion for design & marketing grew more and more in second and third (final) year. Next to his studies, Helge started doing freelance work for friends and smaller businesses before finally graduating in his third and final year in 2010 with a BA Degree in Graphic Design and a Diploma in Marketing. The year after, Helge moved to Stellenbosch where he completed another Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing at the University of Stellenbosch. It was during this year that Helge also, next to his studies, started his first two business ventures, Antiques Africa and his former design brand, Hoffdesign.

In 2012 Helge joined the team at the Globecreative agency where he got to work on several cool brands such as Finweek, mpact (Mondi), Showmax and more. 4 years later, Helge sought to gain overseas work experience and decided apply at advertising agencies based in Germany. With 5 agencies offering this strange white man from Africa a job, he accepted an offer at Joussenkarliczek, a strategic design agency near Stuttgart, where Helge worked on big international brands like STIHL, TeamViewer, LG, Oettinger and more.

From his overseas experience Helge writes: “I was not only able to develop further as a designer and art director, but I also learned some valuable business insights, strategic thinking, typical German work-ethics and business practices that I am now able to apply to everything I do today.”

During his agency career, having worked on a lot of brands for a lot of people and businesses, Helge felt a strong desire to start a new brand of his own, a new project and business venture. Alas, in 2018, with some encouragement of his girlfriend Carolina, the Namibwear brand was born. Starting off with only a few t-shirt designs, the Namibian startup company has since launch seen various new t-shirts collections, hoodies, sweaters, caps, flip-flops, phone covers and there are a lot more designs and product releases in the pipeline.

Tell us more about Namibwear, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).

“Namibwear is a passion project which took roots in my early days as graphic designer dating back to 2011/12, but the brand wasn’t officially founded until late 2018. During the initial launch phase, I focused on the branding, designs, photography, marketing, website and so forth, while my girlfriend Carolina who encouraged me to start the business, helped with the admin and reaching out to suppliers and manufacturers.

The concept of Namibwear grew out of a deep love and pride I have for my home country Namibia. Having spent most of my life here, I wanted to start something where we can share this passion with fellow Namibians and people who share a similar deep connection with our country. Besides always wanting a clothing brand of my own as a sort of creative outlet, I also felt that there was a gap in the Namibian market for a high quality casual clothing brand featuring modern and sophisticated designs that appealed to proud locals and visitors of our country. Being a big fan of modern minimalism often found in Nordic (Scandinavian) design, I always try and make something clean and sophisticated, a design that is well balanced, using modern design- aesthetics and principles and combining this with Namibian themes. Since launch we have released over 34 different designs, investing in premium quality products including:

•          Men’s and women’s t-shirts

•          Unisex hoodies and sweaters

•          Unisex range of caps

•          Laser engraved wooden phone covers

•          Men’s and women’s flip-flops made partially from recycled materials

Being a passion project and, even at this stage, still somewhat of a start-up company, realizing the brand would not have been possible without the input and occasional wisdom of Carolina, the after-hours help of my mother Agnes and my good friend Richard Steinbach. These individuals including myself are the core people who make up the Namibwear Team.

Namibwear would also not be possible today if it were not for the awesome support and valuable feedback from our customers, sharing the pride, both locally and abroad. Nothing makes us prouder than people representing us, sending us their photos and sharing their stories with us. All this and more makes up the Namibwear family.”

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

“From almost quitting college to my first failed business ventures to a pain-in-the-butt world pandemic, challenges certainly are plentiful, but it’s how we deal with them that makes the difference.

One of my first business ventures was an online antiques trading platform called Antiques Africa. The concept was to create one platform tailored for antique traders and vendors in southern Africa where they could list their products and sell these online. While the idea showed a lot of potential, for my partner Nick Taylor and myself it proved extremely challenging to get enough vendors on board, figure out the logistics, do all the product photography, listing & marketing ourselves and designing & developing a stable & easy to use platform for a large number of antique vendors.

After 7 months of hard work and sometimes extremely tedious processes, we scaled down our efforts and resources and I shifted my focus back on building up my freelance design business. While the antiques venture had failed, the experience gained was extremely valuable and, in many ways, also contributed to the existence of Namibwear today. Like many other failed endeavours, I took it as a learning and tried to do it better the next time around.

At the end of the day, one will fail a few times, both from a personal and business point of view, before getting it right, and that’s okay. If you believe in something, and put your heart and soul into it, the results will speak for themselves. In the case of Namibwear, my passion for my country and the need to create, bundled with a huge amount of persistence, hard work and support from family, friends and epic customers has helped me to overcome most challenges so far.”

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

“Running my first business venture taught me that one cannot run before you learn to walk. If you ask me there is no easy way to get into the fashion industry, even casual fashion. It does require a good understanding of design & trends and personally I think one needs to get the product right, with prototypes and testing, before one can roll out a complete collection.

Start small scale and try out a few things first, make some t-shirts for your friends or families. It’s a big investment to bring out a new collection so make sure it’s done right. At Namibwear we spend a lot of time first of all creating our designs and making sure our products are manufactured following high-quality standards and ethical procedures. There should be no cutting corners when it comes to this. Higher quality and ethical manufacturing means higher production costs and lower margins, but this is usually rewarded with repeat purchases and loyal customers which is 1000 x more valuable than making a quick sale with a cheap product.”

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

“Our business philosophy is to provide high-quality products featuring Namibian-themed designs at fair prices. We believe in an inclusive culture, uniting locals and working together with likeminded individuals and institutions. We want to share the Namibian pride, our diverse heritages, and of course the natural sceneries with the rest of the world.”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“Namibwear company values include:

  • Honesty – being transparent in what we offer and our service capabilities as a local start-up clothing brand. Only offer what you can deliver, be transparent in what you are able to offer as a business and what not. While it is impossible to meet every demand, we do try our best to meet exceptional customer satisfaction.
  • Fairness & Integrity – providing fair pricing for high quality products, ethically sourced and manufactured.
  • Trust – assuring value for money with your purchase and providing safe and convenient payment methods backed up by a 2-week product return policy.
  • Local is lekker – wherever possible we work with local suppliers, manufacturers, service providers, talented artists, photographers, artists and models from Namibia and also South Africa.”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in start-ups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“I must honestly say I can’t relate to this. Sure, startups don’t have the manpower or financial needs to provide certain service features that one might expect from established businesses, but I find that many smaller companies and start-ups go out of their way to assist customers and try to meet their expectations.

Thanks to our social media presence and modern ways to communicate, we offer several ways for customers to get in touch with us and in fact we highly encourage customers to interact with us. We like to talk and listen to our followers and consider these as being part of the Namibwear family. Our return policy assures that one can easily exchange an item if it doesn’t fit for example and although we do need to have fixed company policies, we do tend to be flexible in order to meet customer satisfaction. Certainly, things don’t always go 100% according to plan, but we do try and make the purchase experience and after sales service as pleasant as possible. As a proudly Namibian start-up, I feel it is our duty to go the extra and show commitment and provide good customer service across the board.”

What role does your startup play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“We hope that Namibwear can inspire others when it comes to quality Namibian brands. I think it’s important to lead by example, no matter which industry, by setting new standards and exploring new ways of innovating, conducting business, promoting online ecommerce in Namibia, working towards sustainability and encouraging more collaborations amongst Namibian entrepreneurs.”

How significant is collaboration in the growth & scaling of a start-up?

“Collaboration is extremely important, especially for startups and smaller businesses. When we had our first products, we only had an Instagram channel and a Facebook page to promote and display our items, but without a retail space where we could stock our products, it was hard for customers to view and feel the quality of our items.

Luckily, we have fantastic weekend markets where we could display and sell our first t-shirts and phone covers which gave us a base where people could really see what we’re all about. Besides the markets, we approached a few vendors and asked if they would be interested to stock some of our Namibwear products, and while most vendors were interested, it was impossible for us to meet the wholesale prices needed for the vendors to meet their expected margins. It was thanks to smaller businesses and startups like Leon Engelbrecht Design that stocked a limited selection of t-shirts and phone covers which people could try on, see and feel with their own eyes which made people experience the Namibwear brand for the first time in a retailer.

In 2020 we had the opportunity to open a popup shop at a local shopping mall, but paying rent, utilities and staff salaries would have been too much to carry on our own, so we teamed up with another entrepreneur, Daryn from N!A Caps, to give it a go and share the retail space. Besides getting along really well on a personal level, our products complimented each other and we’ve even produced a few caps together.

Another collaboration we have just entered is with our new our delivery partner, eBikes4Africa which use local drivers and e-bikes to deliver parcels all over Windhoek. Not only does this encourage local entrepreneurship, but we also lower our carbon footprint by using e-bikes instead of usual couriers by van.

We hope that more Namibian companies and startups will be open to do collaborations in future, because at the end of the day we’re all in this together.”

In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID- 19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?

“We opened up our first ever pop-up shop that, after just about 1 and a half months, we had to close due to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations. Not being able to trade normally but still having to cover running expenses, we decided not to continue beyond the contractual 3 months and scale down to selling only online through our web shop. Thankfully we invested a huge amount of time & effort in building a fully functional online shop, which is easy to use, safe and secure, up to international standards, offering many forms of payment and product delivery/pickup options. For us, having an online point of sale means we can still be present and continue to build the brand, introduce new products and keep our business going throughout these difficult times.

What’s more, through my experience as an entrepreneur, I am able to shift focus on one of my new ventures like the Nordern Design Bureau during times where business is slower due to the pandemic. One of the biggest business lessons I have learned during these times is that one needs to be flexible and be able to adapt to changing conditions. One can’t prepare for everything, but one needs a backup plan in case something goes south. If something does go bad, try and keep your cool and make the best out of the situation presented before you.”

Email: info@namibwear.com

Website: www.namibwear.com

Cell/WhatsApp: +264 81 716 2121

Facebook: Namibwear

Instagram: @namibwear | @ach.helge

In celebrating Women’s History Month in March, Launch Namibia’s first pitch night of 2021 was duly themed and titled: The Women’s Edition – a platform that afforded innovative, female minds the opportunity to share their business ideas, spread across several industries.

The virtual event, that took place on Thursday, March 25th 2021, at the Windhoek Palm Hotel (Conference Hall), afforded brilliant entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their concept to a panel of judges, and an online audience.

The Jumbo Pitch Night accommodated a top five (5) cohort of finalists, out of which, two finalists were crowned the winners; namely Vernna Muronga, who pitched an animation & film studio concept, and Emily Kandanga, who pitched a line of physical fitness products.

Vernna Muronga – Rex Animation & Film Studio

Each winner received a start-up hamper including a cash prize, business registration, a company design package and more, to the value of N$20,000.

Emily Kandanga – SWEAT Basics

The Women’s Edition was made possible by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through its Accelerator Lab.

If you missed the live stream, you can rewatch it on the Launch Namibia Facebook page: https://fb.watch/56aqW_VMu8/

Stay tuned to the Launch Namibia platforms for regular updates on all programmes & initiatives, or email hello@launch.com.na for inquiries!

“Take care of your customers because if you help people get what they want, they can help YOU get what you want.”

Klaudia Mwechininga Mukete is an entrepreneur and the founder of Mwechy’s Salsa Sauce and Mwechy’s Catering Services.

She grew up in Tsumeb and Oshakati. After completing high school, she went on to study and obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Public Management and an Honors degree in Business Management. She has several years of working experience, from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlements, the Ministry of Home Affairs & Immigration and the Ministry of Finance, where she currently works.

However, the kitchen connoisseur could not escape her passion, who says, “My relationship with cooking began at a very early age of 10. I grew up and got married and started falling more in love with cooking. It became my way to unwind and relax after a long day at work. The more I cooked for myself and my family, the more I wanted to learn. I’ve learned to cook very well through trial and error. Cooking can literally boost your creativity. I just love it! I enjoy experimenting with new recipes and learning new techniques. I truly have a passion for cooking; all I want to do is to fulfil my purpose on this earth through my God-given talent.”

Tell us more about Mwechy’s Salsa Sauce, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).

“Cooking is, and has always been my passion – it’s my calling! Growing up, I always knew I loved cooking and it came naturally for me. I enjoy cooking, and feel quite competent at it. I don’t even mind spending hours in the kitchen, where I create unique recipes: Mwechy’s Sauce being one of them. Mwechy’s Salsa Sauce was founded in my small kitchen at Okakwa village, on the 21st of May 2020.

After I got married and had my own home, I found my most comfortable place to be the kitchen. There, I played around with food and often I would post it on my WhatsApp and Instagram; friends and colleagues would applaud my dishes and encourage me to start a restaurant or catering business. Eventually, I began to cater to those close to me.

However, as a result of the lockdown, we were put into shifts at work. During my off-days, I would develop various recipes, try out many ingredients in my cupboard and I continued to post them on my WhatsApp status. Once again, my colleagues praised me and eventually convinced me to cater to them by supplying lunch that they would buy. I would use the money to buy more ingredients and kept playing in my kitchen.

One day, I prepared a hot rice salad for my colleagues’ orders (rice that you can eat without sauce). However, knowing many people would not understand, I thought to make a salsa on the side. To my surprise, the first group finished the salsa before others and they spoke highly of it.

Being inconsistent with my orders played into my favour as someone from our area came up with the idea to sell form the back of her car, including to my colleagues. This extra time was diverted to developing new recipes for salsa which I used on family and friends’. The enthusiasm and positive responses continued until my sister decided she would design a poster for advertising. It was after the poster when the vision became clear. I started packaging and selling to people around me, and I was blessed to have an old friend of mine design stickers for my bottles, and another designed my labelled apron.

I was still not of the marketing idea until a young girl, (8 years old) whose mummy (family friend) bought a salsa, made a video using the salsa on her bread and said she would use it on all her food because it was the best. I cried that day and decided that if I have to advertise, kids would be my ideal models because of their pure hearts and honesty. This was affirmed by my eldest daughter who one day came to me and told me that she sees my salsa going places because it is the best and that it complimented my lovely food too!

The Mwechy Salsa Sauce currently comes in 12 different flavours, including:

  1. Mwechy’s Plain Sauce
  2. Mild
  3. Spicy Hot
  4. Extra Spicy Hot
  5. Coconut Plain or Hot
  6. Mint Hot or Plain
  7. Peanut Plain or Hot
  8. Banting Plain or Hot

All our sauces are made out of fresh vegetables and mint from my garden. Mwechy’s original flavours can be used on everything, however Mint is best for rice, fish and pasta dishes. Our recently introduced flavours are Peanut (plain and hot) and Banting-friendly sauce.”

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

“I have face several challenges on this journey, and those included:

  • self-doubt & fear;
  • sourcing start-up capital and funds for growth;
  • perfecting my recipes;
  • finding a customer base, as well as the time to devote to my business;
  • dealing with difficult customers and debtors.

I am the cook, the recipe developer, making everything from scratch and believe me, it’s not easy! However, I am lucky to have people who recognised my talent and gift for cooking, encouraging me to stop living in fear and to chase my dream.

I believe I have God’s guidance because He chose me for a reason, He gave me this gift for a reason. I believe in this dream, I believe in my passion and purpose for this business. So, against all odds, I soldier on because I am doing it out of love.”

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

“This business can be difficult, time consuming and draining and is not an avenue to walk through if you’re doing it just to make a buck. You may, or may not, but your heart has to be in it to get you through the tough times. 

  1. Start slow, be patient and do you;
  2. Don’t be in desperate spot
  3. Take time to perfect your recipe, while also protecting its uniqueness;
  4. Know what your customers want and take care of them by creating long, lasting relationships;
  5. Do not be afraid to reach out – you can even try to find a mentor;
  6. Know your worth!

Please don’t just break into this industry because of money because it requires effort and determination.”

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

“I have a few philosophies when it comes to my business:

  1. To create and live my ‘secret sauce’. I do not want to copy; I want my recipes to be original and unique in the world;
  2. To take care of your customers because if you help people get what they want, they can help YOU get what you want;
  3. To associate myself with like-minded people;
  4. Don’t stop when you’re tired – stop when you are done!

I want my sauce company to one day be the best in Namibia and internationally!”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“I deeply value perseverance, honesty, delivering quality, healthy products and timeliness (deliveries, and so on).”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in start-ups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“I offer my customers free, timely deliveries. I also make provision for Q&As with my customers, in order to hear, consider & implement their criticisms and suggestions.

I made sure to offer my products at an affordable price while maintaining their quality.”

What recommendations would you make towards the advancement of start-ups, and/or the improvement of their operating conditions?

“The government needs to do more to support start-ups, an action that could work towards saving our economy. Moreover, having more manufacturing businesses to support the industry in the country will lead to an increase of the GDP, and, revenue streams will continue flowing into the country rather than to foreign countries.

Further recommendations would be 1) direct grants and zero–interest loans, 2) equity-free cash and 3) more workshops on entrepreneurship for start-ups, and are all important.”

In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?

“COVID-19 carried negative impact across several businesses but it also brought positive impacts to many. In my case, during lockdown, I was afforded the time I needed to play & experiment in the kitchen, bringing about the birth of Mwechy’s Sauce.

Anybody in business needs to know that when situations change, we need to be able to diversify our product & service range. Always have a back-up strategy or business idea so that when one doesn’t work out, you move onto the next. Remember to embrace change!”

Email: mweshininga.klaudia@gmail.com

Cell: +264 81 205 1841

Facebook: Mwechy’s Salsa Sauce

Instagram: @mwechydipsauce

Personal Pages: Klaudia Shimwe Mukete (Facebook) | @____klaudy (Instagram)




From left to right: Tom Edison (Founder: Launch Namibia), Niita Shikongo (Coordinator: Launch Namibia), Yrika Maritz (Head of Experimentation: UNDP), Omagano Kankondi (Head of Solutions Mapping: UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme, through its Accelerator Lab, will be sponsoring the wide roster of Launch Namibia initiatives, aimed at nurturing the Namibian entrepreneurial ecosystem in 2021.

The Accelerator Lab is the latest offering by the UNDP to address complex development challenges differently, it is part of the largest learning network made of 92 labs serving 116 countries. The lab aims to provide solutions that are people-centered and inclusive.

Launch Namibia is a motivational business platform, that strives to create and implement initiatives that are to the benefit of Namibian start-ups, through collaborative programmes with partners & other stakeholders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The sponsorship, to the value of US$5000, will go towards events including but not limited to Pitch Night and the Launch Start-up Awards, and further projects such as the annual Launch magazine.

“As the Accelerator Lab, we have seen the need to empower entrepreneurs and Launch Namibia does so remarkably. We are proud to continue our association with them. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with unusual and emerging talent to bolster our new approaches to partnership development.”

Omagano Kankondi, Head of Solutions Mapping at the UNDP Accelerator Lab.

“Our relationship with the UNDP Accelerator Lab over the past year has allowed us to impact the ecosystem significantly. Their team continues to see the importance of this partnership and we are grateful for that, and further, for this sponsorship.”

Niita Shikongo, Coordinator at Launch Namibia.
From left to right: Niita Shikongo (Coordinator: Launch Namibia) & Tom Edison (Founder: Launch)

The main objective of the sponsorship is to effect measurable, long-lasting, positive impact within the start-up ecosystem, while simultaneously celebrating the work of young entrepreneurs with Namibian solutions to Namibian problems.


For queries or further information, kindly contact the Launch Namibia team via email: hello@launch.com.na

“Exceed expectation. Be the standard others are measured by. ”

Andries & Marizaan van Schalkwyk are an entrepreneurial duo and the co-founders of the Copper & Coal Distillery. Andries was raised in Windhoek, with Marizaan growing up on a farm in the Okahandja district. The pair both graduated from Windhoek High School and went on to pursue their tertiary education in South Africa.

Prior to moving back in 2017, the couple worked in the medical industry. However, they could only avoid their fate for so long. What was initially a hobby turned into a passion, and the pair moved back home where Copper and Coal Distillery was consequently born.

Tell us more about Copper & Coal Distillery, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).

“In 2017, Copper & Coal distillery was founded in Walvis Bay, a small harbour town in Namibia. Our Craft distillery produces premium, handcraft spirits in small batches and creates one small batch at a time. With a passion for quality and craft integrity, we take the finest ingredients and transform them into the ultimate spirits – focusing on quality over quantity. Every part of the process is done right here at the distillery in Walvis Bay, from fermenting to hand bottling, proudly Namibian.

Our small team does all the work by hand, taking hand-crafted to a new level. Our gins are made by one distiller, each drop being done by Andries himself. We then hand-bottle, hand-label and hand-pack each bottle of craft product leaving the Copper and Coal Distillery floor.

Desolate Namibian Gin was launched in March 2018 with our Classic 7 Gin, paving the way into the hearts of Namibians and visitors alike. We have since launched our Devils Claw Oak Rested (July 2018) and Crystal Clear (September 2018) gins, both from the local Devils Claw root, with one being rested in French oak barrels to give it an unprecedented smoothness. We launched our Marula gin in October 2019, from local Namibian Marula, hand-harvested in the north of Namibia.

In August 2020, we launched our Forsaken range. This range includes an Infusion Box to make your own cocktails at home, as well as a Copper Craft Club, supporting local businesses, including other liquor craft products in Namibia. This box brings a craft box filled with not only Copper and Coal Distillery products every second month, but also other local handcrafted Namibian products. For our first box, we teamed up with the Naankuse Foundation, and featured their Neuras wines with their 2015 vintage dessert wine.  

On the 11th of September 2020, we launched our Arid Vodka – the first Namibian made Vodka; fermented, distilled and bottled at our craft distillery in Walvis Bay. Arid can be described as a single grain Namibian Vodka, double-distilled and full bodied, a vodka hand-cut to perfection. Each bottle is filled and hand-numbered in true craft spirit, then included in a small batch distilled in a custom-built column still. This is a true distillers’ cut, bringing out the smoothness and purity in this true Namibian Arid Vodka. We have worked on the Arid Vodka concept for a long time with product integrity and quality being of utmost importance. We are extremely proud of our truly Namibian Vodka, Arid!

We are also excited about our upcoming products to be released in 2021, the first will be early in March 2021. Both the Forsaken and Arid range will see further expansion in the coming months.”

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

“Being a novelty product breaking into the local market and gaining acceptance was our biggest challenge – competing in a highly-contested market space, mostly taken-up by international imported brands.

From day one, we focused on the quality of our products. We simply strive to create a superior product, along with great customer service, and this has served us well.”

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

“Exceed expectation. Be the standard others are measured by. Embrace change.  Embrace Innovation. Embrace Knowledge. Be Accountable. Be Human.”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“If I must highlight two it would be Determination and Excellence. It is through sheer Determination that the company came this far in four years, thanks to lots of long hours. We continue to strive for Excellence, and much of our focus is on the quality of products that we produce. We can only be as good as the products we send out the door.”

How significant is collaboration in the growth & scaling of a start-up?

“Collaborations play a significant role in the environment we operate in; it fosters support and unity. We have collaborated with several other proudly Namibian companies with great success. For us it drives our brand and also affords us the opportunity to support our fellow Namibian companies.”

What recommendations would you make towards the advancement of startups, and/or the improvement of their operating conditions?

“I believe that if you have the passion and the determination to take on a start-up, there should be a funding scheme to assist (if deemed viable). It happens all too often that a start-up fails or never gets off the ground due to a lack of funding. Many people lack the knowhow to navigate a start-up process; it would be further beneficial to be able to complete a course or attend a workshop to provide some guidance.”

In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?

“With the horrors of COVID-19, many businesses big and small are fighting for survival. Unfortunately, this fight will continue into the foreseeable future, some will win and continue to fight another day, others unfortunately will not be so lucky. The biggest business lesson we learned was to adapt without hesitation to a changing market. Be willing and open to make the necessary change in your company to survive the pandemic.”

Email: info@copperandcoaldistillerynamibia.com

Website: www.distillerynamibia.com

Cell: +264 81 205 3150

Facebook: Copper & Coal Distillery Company Namibia

Instagram: @distillerynamibia

The flagship event on the Launch calendar, Pitch Night, received a revamp in 2020. Due to national regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many events were either postponed or cancelled completely.

For the first time ever, Pitch Night was held as a hybrid event, viewed by a small audience on site (including pitchers & judges) and by a larger audience streaming online, last year.

The Launch team caught up with the first-place winners of both Pitch Nights, who briefly weighed in on their individual experiences of the event, and the progress that their start-ups have made 5 & 6 months later, respectively:

What did Launch Namibia’s Pitch Night mean to you personally and to your innovation?

GV: Personally, it boosted my confidence to believe in the concept even more. Since the event was live streamed, the business idea was heard by thousands of viewers and the feedback has been overwhelming.

LS: Pitch Night represented the beginning of our journey. At the time, all we had clearly identified was the problem and the idea of a potential solution that still had to be shaped. The event enabled us to share the concept with the world and a stunning judging panel, who provided various insights that served as the basis of what we did from there.

NNt: It meant validation, especially in a country with a small pool and ecosystem of tech-influenced concepts, so it meant that our concept could thrive in this small pool.

NNu: Pitch Night was an amazing experience for me and my team, everything we prepared for was achieved. Our head craft innovation needed such an exposure.

What is the biggest challenge that you have experienced since the event? 

GV: Keeping up with the queries and operational demands. I was quick to realize that I needed to readjust the processes to accommodate more processes due to the constant changes in the world of IT. 

LS: Finding & working with local freelancing web developers to develop the platform. We could not find any credible directory and had really unpleasant experiences with many of the professionals we found due to the lack of commitment and proficiency. Fortunately, we could deploy our MVP for two weeks of tests in January and now have more than 50 freelancers & a dozen SMEs on our waiting list. We spotted a few unexpected vulnerabilities during the test and are working against the clock to take the final MVP live.

NNt: In between juggling a full-time job and other work portfolios, the main challenge has been finding the time to begin the pilot phase of the concept before the initial launch.

NNu: I believe this is the same thing every Namibian start-up experiences – the funding and business support.

Where would you like to see your start-up in three years? What do you hope will be different compared to now?

GV: I would like to see Tutors Hub being the number one stop online platform for students to get access to top qualified tutors in the country. I would like to see more users sign up and more engagements on the platform.

LS: Since we have a very ambitious and complex project at hand, for the next three years I see us still working on improving the platform and expanding on its capabilities, enabling SMEs to generate greater results and become more competitive through content marketing.

NNt: I hope to see Autono-Me in at least one other SADC country like South Africa, with a considerable number of companies and workers registered onto the platform. What will be different is the platform perhaps morphing into an app for download and more efficient navigability.

NNu: We see ourselves breaking barriers and competing internationally. I hope to see many larger corporations in Namibia taking youth entrepreneurship very seriously and lending support where necessary, and where they can.

What lesson can you share, having made so much progress despite this time of crisis?

GV: Start. Just start with whatever idea you have. There will always be a crisis of some sort or another. Starting allows you to learn how to deal with some of these crises.

NNt: There is no right time to start because time is your asset, not an assumption or suggestion.

NNu: Do not wait to figure things out before starting, certain things can only be learnt during the process – just do it! The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Perseverance is key. The pandemic has put many out of business unfortunately, but for us, it’s a great opportunity that presented itself.

Are you looking for any kind of support, resources or funding?

GV: Yes of course. Donors are welcome, always. I am also looking for people to partner up with, especially in the north and coastal towns to help create brand loyalty towards the system.  

LS: We are looking for more web developers to expand our network and partnerships related to our activity. Most importantly, I would like to express our gratitude towards Launch Namibia and StartUp Namibia for all the opportunities brought to us, and our amazing mentors, Mr. Keith Handura and Mr. Gerhard Malah, for providing all the guidance and support we were looking for to realize our mission.

NNt: Yes; a solid marketing strategy (that comes with its own needed resources), to on-board businesses onto our platform. The more companies we have, the more opportunities for employment exists.

NNu: Definitely. We are looking for funding in terms of products prototyping, products certifications, technological systems, marketing and operations.

Launch Namibia is proud to have executed its first twinset of the virtual Pitch Nights in 2020 and we look forward to the continued growth and impact of this initiative within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Further, gratitude is extended to our partners and sponsors, who made the event possible: StartUp Namibia, First National Bank, UNDP Namibia through its Accelerator Lab, Ubuntu Events Technology, KESA Media, Dololo and the UN House. Stay tuned to our social media platforms for updates on the Pitch Night 2021 series!

“Team work makes the dream work.

Morgan Beukes is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer and one of three co-founders of Liberal Apparel, also known as LBRL Men. He was raised in Windhoek, where he attended primary school at Emma Hoogenhout, and was part of the renowned dream team that went a whole season unbeaten. Morgan was also awarded ‘Sportsman of the Year’ for four (4) years in a row. He matriculated high school at Jan Mohr Secondary School and went on to graduate with an Honors degree in Computer Science from UNAM in 2017.

Morgan has been lecturing computer-based modules at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) since. He also does I.T Consulting and he is currently working on pioneering web-based projects.

Speaking on this current business venture and passion project, Morgan says that, “My biggest achievement would be founding Liberal Apparel, for sure.”

Tell us more about Liberal Men / LBRL Apparel, what inspired you to start this business, the services you offer as well as the team behind your startup (if any).

“Liberal Men is a high-end men’s clothing line that provides quality through trends. As for how we came upon the name, I was mulling over the idea of starting the business four years ago when I came across an insightful post on Instagram. The poll queried approximately 160K users about which country they rated as the most liberal country as a travel destination. 67% of the votes were Namibia. The patriot in me couldn’t be any prouder.

Having got the name “Liberal” I realized that we needed a logo. Our classic logo is signified by two letter ‘L’s as mirror images of each other at a 180 degree angle. The idea behind that is, two of us can be looking at the same thing from different angles/perspectives and form two different opinions of the same thing. As Liberals, we respect other people’s opinions despite them differing from our own. That allows us to respect one another and live harmoniously, a common trait of Namibian citizens. The slogan “unity through diversity” was the icing on top of the cake which was provided by Christopher Freygang, one of our co-founders.

We launched the business on December 23rd, 2019. We realized that there was a disparaging gap between the price we as men paid for clothing items and the quality provided. We all know well how men’s clothing is relatively more expensive than that of women. We saw this as an opportunity to breach the market and satisfy an existing customer need for affordable and quality clothing; the accessories further complement our street style.

We are a team of 3; namely Castro Nangula, Christopher Freygang and I. Each of us bring unique qualities that create a synergy that’s a catalyst for nothing but influence and success; this combination of qualities has also seen us maneuver in an adaptable manner without taking any losses.”

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

“Seeing that this was my first business venture, I have to say the pressure to make a success out of the risk I decided to take was the initial challenge. Botched shipments were experienced in the beginning, in obtaining samples of our products before market distribution as is part of our business practice. It was up to the team and I to be motivated and creative in making good on our investment, not knowing how the market was going to respond to our products.

Fortunately enough for us, we launched three months prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19; considering that we are an e-commerce business, we had already made people accustomed to shopping online. Remaining consistent and fresh was a minor challenge in that regard.”

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

“My advice would be to remain true to your brand identity and the underlying passion cannot be emphasized enough.”

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

“Yes, we do, cliché if I may say; team work makes the dream work.”

What are the company values that have been integral in getting you this far?

“Two words, consistency & teamwork.”

One often hears of poor customer service & experiences in startups; what measures do you have in place to ensure the best experience for your customers?

“We are always customer focused, the hand that feeds you should be appreciated. In maintaining consistency, we keep to our word on service delivery, the quality of our products speak for themselves. In cases when we do inconvenience our clients, for example in the rare occurrence of overdue deliveries, we remunerate our customers with tailored coupons and/or discounts.”

How do you see charity and nonprofit work overlapping with your business?

“That is definitely something we are looking to do in the future.”

What role does your startup play in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?

“We are focused on growth and adding value to our customers by providing them with premium products at an affordable price.”

What recommendations would you make towards the advancement of startups, and/or the improvement of their operating conditions? * i.e. support of startups, funding schemes, workshops, policy changes etc.

“My advice would be to have an online presence and a platform to sell products or advertise services. As I.T Consultants, Castro and I are offering development of websites to start-ups and professionals seeking to have better engagement with their clients for discount price at the moment.

A crowd funding platform for Sub-Saharan Africa would be beneficial in my opinion as well. We can advocate for the public to support local business but in our experience, if entrepreneurs are not providing quality products/services then it defeats the purpose of value addition, again in my opinion.”

In 2020, entrepreneurs lived through a tumultuous period with the arrival of the COVID- 19 pandemic; what was your biggest business lesson that you can share?

“Having an online presence is essential to the survival of any business venture in the new economic ecosystem we function in.”

Email: info@liberal.namibia.to

Website: www.liberal.namibia.to

WhatsApp Business number coming soon.

Facebook: Liberal Apparel

Instagram: @lbrlmen | @morganbeukes | @cfreygang

Twitter: @liberalmen1

Castro’s Facebook (Dinosaur): Castro Nangula