Imagine turning your cultivation field in the village into a brand that you will be proud of. This is what Eunice Nghifikwa did when she started Iyaloo Omahangu, with the help of her mother. We caught up with Eunice so she tells us what motivated her into starting her business.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Eunice Nghifikwa. I’m 28 years old. I grew up in Ongwediva, in the Northern part of Namibia. I was raised by a single mother. Her hard work really installed a strong work ethic in myself. I am highly motivated and have a strong hunger for more, more opportunities, more growth and more self-belief that i can set my mind to anything and work hard to achieve it.
What motivated you to start your business?
Growing up in the north, I have always loved omahangu porridge and moving to Windhoek it was a struggle to find very good omahangu flour in the local super markets and I would always hear the same complains from friends. My mother and I were one day having a talk about this and that was when we thought of starting milling our own mahangu and start selling it. that was how we started Iyaloo Omahangu.
Is there opportunity in the industry you are in?
Omahangu is a high-energy, nutritious food, it is mostly consumed by the people in the Northern regions, including Zambezi and the two Kavango regions but there are opportunities to target the wider Namibian market comprising of different ethnic groups. It can be consumed in different ways i.e mahangu cakes/bread, porridge for breakfast, cookies and porridge which is a staple in Namibia. So the market is really big.
A lot of Namibians sit with Mahangu fields but do not capitalize on them, what is your take on that?
Most people grow Mahangu to feed their families, saving for rainy days or they are in areas where everyone else has a field of their own and therefore do not see any market. But it is not everyone that consume omahanguhave a field and most are based in towns and cities. These people can sell their mahangu to locals that can notproduce their own and also there is an opportunity for government to buy unprocessed mahangu from local producers seating with mahangu at home, which can then be processed in to a finished product that can be used in government schools, hospitals and prisons, at the same time financially emancipating our local producers.
Tell us about your struggles. What struggles have you faced?
My biggest struggle is spreading brand awareness. I want to grow Iyaloo Omahangu in to a household name, I want it available on the shelves of every local supermarket but its not always easy trying to convince the supermarkets to put it on their shelves, mostly because they are always scared to sell a new product in case there is no market for it. So the rejection is always hard to take.
How much do your bags sell for?
Currently we only package 5kg and 10kg bags. 5kg is N$70 and 10kg is N$140, Giving discount to supermarkets and anyone buying in bulk. We are currently busy working on making it available in small packages.
How many people does your business employ
We have 5 employees.
How can people contact you for your services?
they can contact us on 0812365743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and also on our Iyaloo Omahangu Facebook and Instagram pages.
Words on motivation for those looking to start a business?
Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear.Our country is full of opportunities. Whatever great idea you have, just start. Do not be afraid to fail, you learn along the way and even after you fail, do not give up. You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience.