“The best time to start is now!”
William Tulimeameno Hangula is a civil engineer by profession and the founder of Telka Construction. William was born in Okalongo and grew up in Ongwediva, where he also attended primary school. He went on to matriculate at Negumbo Secondary School, which then paved the way for his journey at the University of Namibia. However, upon obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree (honors) in Civil Engineering, he wasn’t able to immediately find a job in his field of study. He eventually landed a job in consultancy soon after graduating, a position he kept for three years. In 2019, he was selected for the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Pretoria, South Africa where he attended a training session, specifically in Entrepreneurship. Consequently, it spurred the young engineer on to start a business of his own.
Tell us about Telka Construction, the products and/or services you offer as well as the team behind the startup (if any).
Telka Construction (Pty) Ltd is an engineering construction company, founded in 2016. We specialize in civil and structural projects. Previously known as Telka Investment cc, Telka has completed several projects to date. We are a 100% Namibian bona fide company with our headquarters in Ongwediva.”
The Telka Construction team is made up of:
- William Hangula – Founder & Managing Director
- Martin Mulundu – Director: Civil & Structural
- Matias Mwanyangapo – Foreman: Civil
- Simon Hinanamunhu – Foreman: Electrical
What inspired you to start this business?
“I was inspired to start Telka Construction due to the vast opportunities & sustainability offered by engineering in Namibia, as well as a lack of professionalism that I’ve seen in the construction industry. Namibia is still a developing country so there is quite a fair amount of investment to be made by government and the private sector to develop the country and Telka aims to be a part of that.”
What do you enjoy most about being your own boss, and did you always know you wanted to delve into entrepreneurship?
“The freedom to craft my own journey is what I enjoy most. I also prefer scheduling my own time. But also very important, pursuing the idea of having young people contributing to the development of our country with our own agendas inspires me more.”
What sets your products/services apart from those in the same industry?
“It may not be tangible but the high level of professionalism and quality service that we provide at Telka Construction certainly stands out. It leads to us providing all-round customer service and satisfaction which accordingly sets us apart and keeps our clients coming back.”
What challenges have you encountered on your entrepreneurial journey and how did you overcome some of them?
The biggest challenge I faced thus far is cash flow. It is never easy to secure funding for a new project. Commercial banks may advertise ‘Support for SMEs’ but will still request for collateral, which most new businesses don’t have. Nonetheless, there are a few good friends and private investors that believe in us and continue to help us greatly.”
Do you have a business philosophy? If so, what is it?
“I don’t really have a business philosophy I stand by, but I strongly believe in self-development. Learning from experience, reading, studying, learning new technology and skills etc. An entrepreneur has to keep on learning.”
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this industry?
“Competition is very high. Due to the industry seeming somewhat flooded, everybody knows everybody. There are many players so one needs patience and perseverance. Protect your brand – you need to always deliver as you promise. Put your focus on building a good reputation as opposed to chasing profits. You will eventually make the money. Also, the best time to start is now!”
How important is networking as a growth component of any startup?
“Networking is one of the recipes for success in this industry. You need to connect with people and organizations to open up doors. It is also important to note that networking shouldn’t be limited to one’s own industry; you could find ways to grow your business through relationships with people & startups in completely different sectors.”
What role does your startup play in 1) contributing to society and 2) in nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia?
“A primary social contribution role we took up is training young artisans and technicians from vocational schools. We want to give opportunities to the up-and-coming ones to gain exposure.
In nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Namibia? Not quite yet, but it is something we will surely consider to start doing.”
What recommendations would you make towards the improvement of the operations of startups?
“My recommendations would be to startups themselves: studying their market, understanding how they’d operate therein & identifying loopholes for them to have an advantage over their competition. Additionally, startups should learn to embrace change and quickly adjust as necessary. We must always be on a look out for the latest technology. You don’t want your bookshop to close just days after Amazon opens its doors in Namibia.”
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.?
“Firstly, we had to apply for a working permit from Government in order to continue operating. We are also very strict in following all regulations set out to curb the spread of COVID-19 at our work place. We have further placed an advert in the newspaper that encourages our customers to stay at home during the lockdown period.”
Cell: +264 81 607 7036 / +264 81 222 0871
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter: @telkaconstruction