Moses Andreas a Mechanic Turned Businessman

M A Trading Enterprises sits on the outskirts of Ongwediva in what is nowadays known as “old Ongwediva”. The owner is Moses Andreas who is assisted by a team of four other mechanics or to put it bluntly “jacks of all trades”.

Woema paid Andreas a visit and wanted to know how it feels like to own a panel-beating shop in the North.

Andreas has been in the car repair industry for over 20 years and he boasts vast experience he built over the years as he moved from one workshop to another in search of greener pastures.

“I started my work in Otjiwarongo during my youthful years and worked as a mechanic repairing heavy vehicles such as graders and trucks. That was the time before Independence and those white people made sure that you are a perfectionist in what you do. Either you pull up your socks or you are out,” recounted Andreas of his humble beginnings.

He thereafter worked with companies such as NamPower and Auas Delta for more than 12 years as a general mechanic. Once his skills in the mechanic industry were “ripe”, he took a challenging line within the motor industry and that is how he ended up at Rupping Body Works as a panel beater and spray painter.

After a good four years as a spray painter, he decided to call it quits and start his own business as he felt he had gathered enough experience as a motor vehicle mechanic and spray painter.

Like all other previously disaantaged Namibians, starting a business without adequate funding was not easy, as he did not qualify for assistance from commercial banks. However, armed with a toolbox and enough years of experience he set forth and put together a team of other mechanics that helped him build what he has achieved today, known as M A Enterprises in Ongwediva.

Asked what his ‘enterprise’ was all about or the type of service on offer, a smiling Andreas remarked, “Of course, it would be motor vehicle mechanics with specialisation in fixing engines, gearboxes and differentials. And since we have good skills in repairing accident damaged cars, we also do panel beating and spray painting.”

Apart from the challenge of obtaining funding from commercial banks to expand, Andreas is disturbed by the lack of logistical support from government.

“Government should provide us with land that we can use to build our workshops as we cannot afford the exorbitant prices charged by town councils for land.” As an alternative to land provision, Andreas is of the opinion that the construction of more “incubation centres” that can be used by SMEs would be of great help. Oshakati has only one such centre and this too is already overcrowded.

Andreas has keenly followed the establishment of the SME bank and thinks that the opening of the much talked about branch in Ongwediva will soon be of great help to other smaller companies like his.

He is of the belief that the SME Bank is the solution to upcoming businesses as their requirements for loans are not as strict and demanding as those of commercial banks. He does not own a house and thus could never dream of offering a house as collateral to a bank, should he want to expand his business.

As for business, “business is tough”, he says. “At times, we sit for about two weeks without cars to work on. But then when work becomes available, then its like manna were falling from heaven. All of a sudden we get flooded with too many cars with everyone demanding that his car is a priority and that he wanted it repaired by yesterday,” he said.

Andreas told Woema that his clients vary from private individuals that bring in their cars for repair, to private companies such as AVBOB or even at times government ministries. When Woema visited his workshop, there was a government minibus on the workshop floor.

Source : New Era