Popya with Lydia Shipateko: Dedication pays

WINDHOEK With a natural flair for business and determination to make a success of her life, Lydia Shipateko has shown that graduates can triumph in challenging economic times.

The thirty-year-old Namibian entrepreneur is businessperson with a heart of steel. She is the sole owner of Otjomuise Accounting and Consulting and Velm Investments. Her companies currently employ eight people: five are on full-time and three on part-time basis. Five females and three males. Otjomuise Accounting and Consulting offers services such as bookkeeping, company secretarial services, immigration, tax and financial advisory. Velm Investments, named after her late father, specialises in business consultations, catering and cleaning services.

Jobs were scarce after I completed my tertiary education. I saw a need in this market and went for it. The goal was to create employment for myself and others, she shares why she chose these business ventures. Born in Luanda, Angola, her parents moved back to Namibia when she was a toddler. Due to challenges experienced by her parents, her aunt who raised her in Soweto, Windhoek, adopted Shipateko. I see my aunt as my mother. She raised me into the woman that I am today, she says. Her keen sense for business was evident at an early age. She started a vetkoek selling business when she was at the Augeikhas Primary School. At secondary school, she managed the school's mini-shop.

After matriculating at Hage Geingob Secondary School in 2009, Shipateko went on to study Accounting and Finance at a local tertiary institution. With the financial assistance of her life-partner, she managed to save enough start-up capital. Upon graduating in 2012, she immediately registered her companies and went into business. The beginning was the hardest part. I had to prove myself to the market, she says. In 2016, Shipateko sought financial assistance from Bank Windhoek's Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch to buy a company vehicle. Her application was approved within a week.

The branch was established to support and help promising Namibian entrepreneurs with feasible business ideas.

ESME Finance Branch also focuses on empowering women and young entrepreneurs. What was evident with Shipateko is her business acumen and financial discipline. Her track record in this area made it much easier for us to assist her, says the branch's Credit and Sales manager, Aune Hamukonda. Challenges that many entrepreneurs have to deal with such as lack of capital and collateral were just some of the trials Shipateko faced. She adds, however, that this made her stronger and that business is good. Despite the current depressed economic activity affecting the volume of projects secured, we have maintained positive financial growth, she said.

Shipateko advises young aspiring entrepreneurs to develop a savings culture. They must reinvest their funds back into the business for sustainability and avoid spending money on expensive luxuries.

Ndambelela Namundjebo and Regina Berenardu are two of Shipateko's employees. I enjoy working with her because of her perseverance, said Namundjebo, who is responsible for the Immigration Department. Her personal assistant, Berenardu said: She is a hardworking young woman and I am motivated to do the same. Shipateko is grateful for the relationship and trust that has developed between her and Bank Windhoek. She plans on expanding her business and believes that Bank Windhoek will be with her through the journey.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia