“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:
- Copyright, and
- 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.”
Cell: +264 81 653 7820
Facebook: Intrik Consulting