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Kuenda Digital by Ismenio Pascoal

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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

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