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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

“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)

“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

“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

“We are overcoming the challenges as we learn by day.

Augustinus Ngombe is an entrepreneur, and the founder & managing director of Generational FOCUS Consultancy. He was born in a village called Gcamade, West of Rundu, in the now Kavango West. He attended primary school at Gcamade JP, before later moving to Siya S.P and Sinzogoro S.P respectively. He completed his high school at Leevi Hakusembe Senior Secondary School.

Augustinus served as an LRC for Academic Affairs at the age of 15 and later quit, but his teachers and learners still qualified him as a leader without any title. This would later translate in his unquenched thirst to understand the subject of leadership. His junior achievements include participating in the UNESCO Science Fair as a regional representative and leading his school choir & the debate club, which served as platforms to practice thought-leadership and orator of the time in school.

Augustinus describes himself as “an agile leader, teacher and administrator by profession who has made many to experience the greatest feeling of self-discovery, empowered, informed, inspired and equipped to deliver to the best of their abilities in various areas.” He encourages thought-provoking to imagine beyond their limits in the areas of leadership and entrepreneurship to develop a deeper understanding of self. He is the author of Leadership & Knowledge, an eloquent orator, gospel singer, educator with dynamic skills and knowledge inspired by biblical wisdom.

He is passionate about empowerment and bridging gaps through motivation, training and capacity building. He has shared stages and worked with influential scholars and leaders such as Prof. PLO Lumumba who reviewed and spoke at the launch of his book & wrote its foreword.


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

“Generational FOCUS Consultancy was founded in 2017 as a platform that brings experts that discuss leadership and entrepreneurial matters to bridge the gaps of the knowledgeable and less knowledgeable, resourceful and less resourceful, as a form of empowerment. The summarized activities or services offered by the consultancy are:

  • Knowledge importation & empowerment of leaders and entrepreneurs in the areas of: purpose identification, change management, emotional intelligence, innovative thinking;
  • Business and entrepreneurial advising and training;
  • Financial and business management services;
  • Sale of books on the topics of leadership and knowledge;
  • Publishing of leadership and entrepreneurial study materials and books.

Thus far GFC has managed to host influential leaders on our online platform, the likes of Hon. Tom Alweendo, Rt. Gen. Ndaitwah, Mrs. Sanet Steenkamp, Otto Kapuka, Prof. Tshilidzhi and more. Their founder, Augustinus, has also trained MANWU far North Shop Stewards in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and moderated a social dialogue of trade Unions (NUNW, NEF, Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation and Ministry of Finance) about the future of work in Namibia. He has been hosted on TV and radio episodes on various leadership subjects and he is a columnist.

GFC has a team made up of:

  • Augustinus M Ngombe, Founder and Managing Director;
  • Sivambo K Peter, Project Manager;
  • Guerschom Ndianga, Stakeholder Engagement Partner;
  • Christine-Ritah Namusobya Abankwah, Coach, Advisor and Partner.”

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

Challenges we have faced:

  • Financial backlog, to layout great platform that can reach more people, payment of the services used;
  • Trust of the corporate world to allow us to offer our services like training of their employees;
  • Exposure and marketing platforms are limited when you are new in the business;
  • Rarity of the experts to partner with on our projects.

Mechanisms to overcome them:

  • We rely on our network to get referrals and assistance where possible;
  • We fundamentally rely on giving excellent services to our clients to create a strong customer relation;
  • We are living in our means to avoid over expenditures;
  • Having a strong value system that fosters trust amongst our customers and partners.

We are overcoming the challenges as we learn by day.”

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

“This industry requires no chance-takers but people who are vested in the services offered. There is no short way to its success except investing in yourself to be well-equipped. One needs resilience and self-efficacy to earn the trust and credentials to work with others, whether individuals or corporates. Those who are principled make it greater in this area even though it takes time. This journey will require you to be patient and accountable as virtues.”

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

“Bridging generational leadership gaps is cornerstone of sustainable and transformational leadership.”

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

“Our core values are:

  • Leadership
  • Excellence
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience
  • Accountability.”

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 have established a customer review system through which we seek honest feedback from our clients: what we have done well and where we haven’t delivered satisfactorily. Further measures include:

  • Lifelong learning of team members to ensure the efficiency of service delivery;
  • Scrutiny of the content to be released to the clients to ensure that services are offered with excellence;
  • Tailor-made content to our clients;
  • Exercising partnership-leadership instead of title-based leadership.”

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

“We are driven by empowering and bridging gaps; hence we indirectly offer our services for free as a way to teach people how to fish and not to always be given fish. Generational FOCUS cc is accessed freely by the participants thus it is charitable to the society.”

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

“Empowerment through our free discussions led by the experts in various industries which make information available. Those who follow Generational FOCUS cc have experienced free information sharing. Not only that, but our articles in the newspaper tackle some of the entrepreneurial challenges. We offer training where materials can be accessed at an affordable rate. Having partnered with coaches, we do referrals to the experts in finance, branding and other crucial areas in entrepreneurship.”

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

“It is crucial to collaborate or partner with others as it allows both participants to use each other’s strengths to pull each other. It allows both businesses to tap into the other’s network, whether it is customers, investors or suppliers. It is a skill recommended to every entrepreneur.”

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.

“Knowledge is power thus start-ups must be well informed and equipped through workshops and entrepreneurial seminars before they step into getting financial facilities. This will prepare for the cause and learn from experts and other entrepreneurs who may be in their service or product provision and learn from their mistakes. This cuts off time wastage and trims the business to what may be suitable for that moment. Secondly, they should learn risk management and record keeping to allow them opportunities into acquiring funding.”

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?

“The main lesson was to be flexible in our strategies as change is always inevitable; that businesses should embrace saving for unprecedented times such as the pandemic. It was an eye-opener for the government to see the relevance of the SMEs and the urgency of making policies favorable for such entities.”


Email: generationalfocus@gmail.com

Cell: +26481 615 2861

Facebook: Generational Focus

Instagram: @GenerationalFocus

“The biggest lesson is to adapt, and to adapt fast.

Zita Jesus is an entrepreneur, and the co-founder & creative director of Orange Peel Interior Designs. The young businesswoman grew up in Oshivelo, in the northern part of Namibia. She then moved from Oshivelo to Windhoek in 2013, to pursue her tertiary education.

Zita studied Communications & Marketing at the then Polytechnic of Namibia, now known as the Namibia University of Science Technology (NUST). Her first job was as a teacher at Uukumwe Combined School. She then went on to work in the Commercial Property Management industry for roughly four (4) years before she moved to Ohlthaver & List Group. There, Zita worked in Leisure as a Marketing Executive. She couldn’t stay there forever knowing her passion was calling and she now works as a full-time interior designer.”


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

“I founded Orange Peel Interior Designs in 2016. I have always been one to make my place beautiful; I always shopped according to themes but I didn’t know that what I was doing was actually interior design then, even less that I could make a living out of it.

I initially began working on the spaces of my friends and family. It took a lot of trial and error to find our niche, value proposition and our core services.

Doing this work from a place of passion, just for the love of it, allowed me to see a gap in the market and this has become a big part of why we do what we do. Making interior design accessible to the average Namibian. Hence our tagline – “Interior Design, Redefined.”

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

“Finding a local mentor in the Namibian interior design space, that I could relate to, has been and still is a challenge. That’s definitely been a challenge entering a niche industry.

Right now, my mentors are all online: mainly Claire Jefford and Darren Palmer. My personal and business growth mentors are Joe Dispenza and Bob Proctor.”

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

“Start with your own space and google the rest.”

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

“I serve the average Namibian; they are my target market. With the average Namibian being my target market, I adopted the Chinese Pricing model. I just love the flexibility that it gives both me and my clients. The social, authentic business model is the heartbeat of Orange Peel and this has allowed me to share my world as is unfiltered and somehow doing just that didn’t require a well-defined marketing strategy. This has made us relatable and brought us a lot of business.”

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

“Authenticity;

Daring to be different;

Transparency.”

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?

“Any project we take on is personal, never transactional. This really drives our attitude towards the work and our clients. I’d say we get better with every project as we learn, fix and continue pushing.”

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

“We have already launched our signature community project, ‘Pimp My Shack’ last year in partnership with Pupkewitz Megabuild. This initiative is very close to my heart because it pays homage to my childhood and where I am from.”

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

“Inspiration. We really hope to motivate and mentor others to take the first step, just as we did.”

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

“Collaboration is key to growing; we have had numerous partnerships with fellow start-ups like Greyco Architects, Newgen Media, Netreg Electical and many local craftsmen and women. They have all helped grow our business. My biggest collaboration to date has been the one with Pupkewitz Megabuild.”

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?

“For OPID, 2020 was the best year of growth. In fact, COVID-19 and its effects helped us birth new realities that we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. However, the biggest lesson we learnt was to adapt, and to adapt fast.”


Email: info@opinteriors.co

Website: www.opinteriors.co

Cell: 081 429 7750

Facebook: Orange Peel Interior Designs

Instagram: @orangepeel_interior_designs

“Enter when ready to serve, not when ready to sell.

Flaviano Quicandi Quisseque and Masutu Vihanga are entrepreneurs, and the co-founders of E-Sell Namibia. Flaviano, who originates from Angola, considers himself to be a calm but determined individual with a natural sense of humor. He moved to Namibia when he was 9 years old and lived apart from his parents ever since, with only holidays and occasional visits allowing him time with his family. He is a devout Christian who believes in living a life free of excuses, and further that ‘failure is one’s best teacher’.

Flaviano always had a passion for not only business but for serving people as well. He proceeded to pursue & acquire a qualification in Business Administration at the Institution of International Training College Lingua. In 2018, after he had left his job working as a coach at DTS, he conceptualised the idea of a platform that would facilitate the buying & selling of pre-owned goods. This platform would aim to help people sell items they no longer needed while making an extra income. It would further ensure safety from scams or theft as well as preventing the high circulation of stolen items currently being sold.

In 2019, he teamed up with his good friend & business partner, Masutu Vihanga, who was running a delivery business of his own at the time. They then teamed up and officially launched E-Sell Namibia in September 2019 along with help from two other individuals: Diana Davids and Johannes Kapolo. Flaviano and Masutu have since been solely focused on expanding the brand.


Tell us about E-Sell Namibia, the products & services you offer and the team behind your startup.

“We facilitate the buying and selling of mainly second-hand goods for individuals or organisations. We also market local businesses using our online platforms that have a wide reach in business and private platforms. We offer these services through our website as well as on WhatsApp and our Facebook & Instagram pages.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“We wanted to make the sale process of second-hand goods safe & efficient, by allowing people easy access to goods & services at an affordable price. We realized that many people struggled with getting rid of items they no longer had use for, and most of these were in a good condition. This opened up a gap for us to capitalize on.”

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

“Being your own boss requires a certain level of discipline, which is a challenge I love waking up to everyday. Yes, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur because of my desire to serve people.”

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

“First and foremost, you’ll get your money’s worth and we are time efficient. One of the benefits of buying products through us is that we provide warranty and proof of ownership on every item our clients buy or sell using our platform.”

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

“Probably trying to juggle our ambitions along with family responsibilities and our religious commitments. We are still overcoming this everyday by aligning our priorities and devoting the most time to what matters most.”

What is your business philosophy?

“We do not engage in any transactions that does not benefit all parties involved.

 ‘Expectations lead to disappointments.’.”

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

“Enter when ready to serve, not when ready to sell. The industry needs passion for the work as well as a serving mentality. Our services connect people and working with people requires one to have a growth mindset.”

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

“As a start-up, it is almost impossible to operate in an isolated sphere. We all want to achieve great things and we have all these great ideas, however, in this growing Namibian economy we need, now more than ever, to work together. Networking creates opportunities for growth. It may be in gaining new clients or perhaps in building stronger relationships with suppliers to ensure a lasting and healthy relationship. Trust, inspiration, exposures, interactions, and pre-qualified referrals that you get through networking are special resources that can’t be found anywhere else.”

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

“a) We contribute by bringing people together through the buying & selling and minimizing major issues in society of theft, scams among others.

b) We have in many cases partnered with other start-ups as a sign that we welcome innovative ideas and we use our platforms to promote local products and businesses.”

Startups in Namibia, and all over the world, faced an unprecedented crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic; how has your startup adjusted to the situation?

“Day to day operations have been adjusted so as to curb the further spread of the virus. Because of the nature of our business, it has been an easy transition into this “new normal”; we put ourselves at the forefront of any transactions by ensuring that both the seller and buyer do not have to have any form of physical interaction unless deemed fit and really necessary.”


Email: admin@esellnamibia.com

Website: e-sellnamibia.com

Cell: 081 223 9459 ; 081 422 4207

Facebook: E-Sell Namibia

Instagram: @esellnamibia

“If you have the passion, the better days will always trump the challenges.

Ellen Ngondjodhi Emvula is an entrepreneur and the owner of Ellen’s Deco Trading cc, otherwise known as Edéco. Ellen was born and raised in a village near Okahao called Onandjila, in the Omusati Region. She completed her primary and secondary education at Oshuulagulwa Combined School and Ongandjera Senior Secondary School, respectively.is a Creative Artist, Entrepreneur and a Diagnostic Radiography Technician by profession. After graduating, Ellen worked at Onandjokwe Lutheran Medical Service X-ray department for 4 years before eventually moving on to work at Grootfontein Private Hospital X-ray department for another 4 years. She is currently working at Medirad Medical Radiology in Grootfontein.

“While working at Medirad, when I don’t have patients, I started working on my home craft in my office, during lunch hour and also after hours, because of the love I have for unique home products – that is when  Edéco Home Luxury was established in 2013.”


Tell us about Edéco, the products & services you offer and the team behind your start-up, if any.

“Ellen’s Deco Trading cc (Edéco) was established in 2013 but I only started to operate officially in 2018. Edéco Home produces various home products, ranging from:

  • bespoke wood furniture,
  • kitchenware,
  • wall décor art, as well as
  • memorabilia.

I produce woodwork craft by order. Customers generally order specialized and stylized woodwork craft, which I produce according to their specifications.”

What inspired you to start this business?

“It started off as a hobby that I did not realize I was in dire need of. I have always been quite creative; I always sought to improve my skillset with every opportunity that I got. The inspiration for starting up my own business came as a result of one such opportunity. I started making my own furniture at an experienced friend’s workshop. At first, it was simply a therapeutic weekend hobby, and my craft was only for my home.

In the days that followed, family and friends would always compliment me on my work, noting that my craft made my house beautiful. Many began asking me to help with their own homes and wanted to get their hands on my craft. Initially, I did it for free for some close friends. When the interest and demand expanded beyond my circle (family and friends), I started seeing the lucrative potential and realized that I had to start up the business.”

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

“Entrepreneurship was never the primary objective; it really was just another weekend hobby. I have been faced with multiple entrepreneurial opportunities before, but I never took an interest because they were never about something that I was passionate about. Committing to an entrepreneurial endeavor that I’m not passionate about would have been taxing.

That said, I truly love and enjoy the work that I do now, and I am glad that I have delved into entrepreneurship. Being my own boss is really the icing on the cake – I cannot imagine someone else calling the shots on my passion.”

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

“I do not only produce generic woodwork craft – I create the products according to the customer’s specification. It is not just about the art, but about the customers’ desires and preferences. Edéco Home Products are modern, fashionable and are uniquely identifiable by the signature rustic edge and celebration of the African culture and heritage.  Because all of our products are handmade, no one’s product is the same, giving each piece a unique touch. They are products that cannot be found anywhere else, they are completely custom-made.”

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

“As expected, there have been many challenges throughout my entrepreneurial journey. The main challenge is not always having the required machinery and materials, and not having my own workshop. It is especially true because I stay in a small town, I have to travel to the city a lot for some necessary equipment (some of which are almost impossible to find).

I overcame that challenge by producing my craft through an already established workshop that has most of the machinery I’d need. However, this is a temporary solution because I am aiming to eventually have my own workshop in future. For the stock that is difficult to find, I have resorted to online shopping. Then there was the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that impacted import. There are of course the more personal challenges such as discouragement too, but I always remind myself of the love that I have for my work.”

What is your business philosophy?

“My business’s vision and mission are my business philosophy. The mission is to produce and provide local craft that livens up your home, and the vision is to become an efficient, recognized and profitable home products business that inspires creativity and ingenuity. These are not just some purposeless business jargon used to fill the pages of a brochure; these are principles that I have applied and upheld on every step of my journey.”

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

“Have the passion. Of course, pursuing any entrepreneurial endeavor is far more complex than that, there are multiple factors that one would need to be acquainted with. Capital, market research, writing business plans, marketing, choosing a business structure, business registration, business accounts etc.

However, if you have the passion, everything else will be smooth; smooth enough to keep going, at least. If you have the passion, the better days will always trump the challenges.”

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

“It is of utmost importance. It is an insightful experience for any business that allows for personal and business growth. I believe businesses form part of a community with members that constantly learn from each other; it is not just about the competition (which is mostly necessary).

Networking allows businesses to learn from each other, which allows them to improve their services and get new clients. Sometimes it leads to mutually satisfying collaborations, sometimes it provides new opportunities. The importance of networking cannot be understated.”

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

“I believe that I inspire creativity and ingenuity. In Namibia, the field of art is grossly underrated, which discourages many talented Namibian from pursuing careers in the field. Those that do monetize their craft are easily exploited and have their craft’s value undermined. Achieving my own goals is not only a personal accomplishment, but one that can inspire other talented individuals to tap into the lucrative potential of their creativity.

Edéco aims to positively impact Namibians, through one of our long-term goals: as the business grows, we would like to train individuals in handcrafting as well as open a store (Edéco Home Luxury) that would sell Edéco products, while also creating employment opportunities. At present, Edéco products are available at Nictus Giga, Windhoek. In addition, as our products are made using recycled materials, our items ensure that we preserve the Namibian environment.”

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

“Exposure is one of the biggest challenges that the community of start-ups faces, which has an overall effect on their performance. Many fail because of the lack of exposure; therefore, I would recommend that the community takes a more collaborative approach for collective exposure, investing in initiatives such as an online shopping platforms and marketing databases.”

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.?

“These unprecedented times have truly had a negative financial and operational impact on the business. As a result of the restrictions imposed on various non-essential businesses, procuring supplies was the main challenge I experienced but things are gradually returning to normal.”



Email: ejonecky@gmail.com

Cell: +26481 286 0203

Facebook: Edéco | Ellen Emvula

Instagram: @athomewithedeco

Twitter: @ellenigor

“Never give up on yourself or your dreams because only you can make them a reality.”

Valde Ndapwilwa Akumanga Leonard is a startup entrepreneur and the founder of VNA Native Foods. He was born in Outapi and grew up in Aus, a small rural community in southern Namibia, where his family is also from & currently lives. Valde attended all his junior grades in Aus, then completed his secondary grades in Keetmanshoop at P.K De Villiers Secondary School. He then went on to graduate as a Para Veterinarian / Vet Nurse through the University of Namibia, after obtaining his qualification in 2016.


“After finishing university, I worked as a Vet Nurse for 1 year and 8 months at the Windhoek Animal Hospital as well as at a charity organization. At the end of my tertiary career going into my work as a vet nurse, I started to develop a business concept based on the idea of adding value to indigenous Namibian and African food such as spinach, mopani worms and wild fruits.”

It was around this time that the young Valde put his best foot forward for the Development Bank of Namibia’s Innovation Award – aimed at rewarding personalities with funding for their creative & innovative ideas that have personal & national developmental impact. Winning the 2018 DBN Innovation Award, as well as the N$1 Million prize, was the necessary push that Valde needed to start with VNA Native Foods.

Tell us about VNA Native Foods, the products & services you offer and the team behind the startup, if any.

“VNA Native Foods is a Namibian company which I founded with the sole purpose of adding value to indigenous Namibian and African food, thereby commercializing this food. It is named after my three names:

“V” for Valde, “n” for Ndapwilwa and “a” for Akumanga.

“Our company’s current products are powdered soups made from traditional African spinach well known in Oshiwambo as Omboga. The company has thus recently launched an Omboga vegetable soup that is available in 50g and 200g packets. These packets are available for sale in supermarkets around Windhoek.”

Valde Leonard is the main person behind the company, with a small team of about 4 team members.

What inspired you to start this business?

“My main inspiration for starting this company was my social & economic background. My mother sells traditional brews in Aus and my father has worked as a general worker at TransNamib his whole life. I thus came from a poor background but my parents made sure to raise me and my siblings with discipline in order to achieve greatness. Despite my situation, I was determined to make a plan to get out of it. I came to despise poverty and that became my key driver amongst many other things.”

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

“The flexibility that comes with being your own boss as well as being able to make my own decisions is what I enjoy the most.

The fact that my siblings and I were raised in a house where our parents are engaged in small-scale business activities, that includes the sale of traditional brews, exposed me to business at a young age. I thus had the idea in me, since the end of my high school career, that somewhere along the line I would become an entrepreneur.

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

“Our company’s products are unique in comparison to competing products because our product is made from local ingredients and is based on local flavors. The products are also very nutritious because of the Omboga/traditional spinach content.”

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

“I have faced many challenges along the way, and these include fund-raising, raw material acquisition as well as marketing and distribution. What was key in overcoming those challenges for me was prayer and faith in Jesus Christ. This will always remain a stronghold.”

What is your business philosophy?

“None, I was raised by parents who had a simple business principle – make a profit on everything you sell.”

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

“My advice to other dreamers is to never give up on yourself or your dreams because only you can make them a reality; further, have faith in Jesus Christ.”

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

“Networking is very important because your startup can only stand to grow when you meet new people who can introduce you to other opportunities. Networking is also a good way of marketing one’s product and service.”

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

“VNA Native Foods contributes to society by providing employment directly and indirectly, and by providing our society with nutritious food.

The fact that the company fully took off during the COVID-19 period stands to inspire other entrepreneurs and to show that there is space for entrepreneurship in Namibia amidst all challenges.”

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

“Namibia needs to introduce a one-stop facility that caters for the problems of startups; be it financial, marketing, operational or any other constraints. The startup community is lacking that support that would allow for its growth.”


Email: valdeleonard@yahoo.com

Cell: 081 400 1834

Facebook: Valde Ndapwilwa Akumanga Leonard

Official VNA Native Foods pages coming soon.

“Whatever you do, whether failing or succeeding, as long as you are moving forward and learning in the process you are good.”


Efraim Shivute is a 26-year-old Namibian entrepreneur and the founder of Kapana In Town. He was born in Otjiwarongo. He grew up in Oshakati with his father, who was a businessman based in the northern parts of Namibia. Efraim attended his primary school at Erundu S.S and secondary school at Otjiko Secondary School. After high school, he went to study Diesel Mechanics at NIMT, and later Information Science at the University of Namibia. Efraim worked at Advanced 4×4 car hire for 3 years as a mechanic and Pupkewitz Honda for 6 months before he decided to drop the career as a whole in February 2016 and pursue entrepreneurship.

Efraim believes that is how he came to fall in love with entrepreneurship because he was already exposed to it at an early age, from his father. Even when he was away from his father who would constantly spoil him, with his mother he learned to work for everything that he wanted by selling anything and everything, such as fish, spice, fat cakes, matangara and more. In this way, his entrepreneurial spirit was nurtured from a young age, leading to him finally starting his own business.

Tell us about Kapana In Town, the products & services you offer and your team.

“Kapana In Town was founded on the 1st of February 2019. Our main purpose was to bring kapana closer to the consumers in town seeing that the main Kapana spot in the city was a bit far. We serve kapana, free salsa, fat cakes, kapana burgers and soft drinks, which we deliver all over Windhoek. Deliveries start from N$40 as the minimum order and if you are within walking distance delivery will be free whereas if you are outside the CBD delivery is N$20 anywhere in Windhoek. The team behind the start-up are all students, namely:

Toivo Stefanus (23),

Petrus Shivute (23), and

Wilson Kavefi (25).”

What inspired you to start this business?

“I remember it vividly. On January 27th, 2020 I was taking a walk around town and like any person would I started craving kapana but having to drive to Single Quarters in Katutura was such a long process and since it was lunch time, traffic would have delayed me. At that moment I answered about ten questions based on WHY, WHO and HOW in my mind, of course putting myself in the next person’s shoes because I somehow knew I was not the only one craving kapana.”

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

“To be honest, I do not see myself as a boss but rather as an employee. It is not really something one enjoys besides the fact that you have greater control and flexible working hours; it is the hardest thing I ever had to endure because you take on the bulk of the business’s struggles and get rewarded last and that is what most people do not understand or forget. I believe deep down that entrepreneurship has been in me for years — I just needed the right people around me to execute.”

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

“What makes us different is our delivery system, the free salsa we provide for every order and the specials that we are always having. Also, customer satisfaction is the key in the food industry, knowing what your customers like and dislikes, we put all these things into consideration.”

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

“It has been a long journey but one of the key challenges I had to face were starting off and money management. It took us 3 days to start and we all know how starting something with so little to no knowledge at all would go, but as we moved forward we made learning the ups and downs of the industry our top priority. As for money management, we did not have a system in place to deal with stock-taking but as time went by, plus the experience we came up with a perfect one.”

What is your business philosophy?

“Yes, “Forward “. Whatever you do, whether failing or succeeding, as long as you are moving forward and learning in the process, you are good. “

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

“I would advise anyone thinking of starting a business to be prepared to fail before you start seeing returns.”

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

“I think networking is important for entrepreneurs and their businesses as it gets you and your business noticed by others. By establishing more connections and by regularly contributing to networks, your business will become more reputable.”

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

“We strongly believe in giving back to the community whether through contributions or charity events, although when it comes to such things we prefer to keep them from the public.”

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

“COVID-19 has affected almost every business. The effect it had on us was one that we never thought we would recover from. We laid off employees without salaries, we went from averaging sustainable amounts to making N$50 a day. But through support from family  and friends we were able to invest back into the business as well as into other start-ups.”


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