Youth in Business 1

Windhoek: The youth nowadays are not sitting around waiting for jobs to be provided but are becoming job creators in their own right. Many young entrepreneurs and innovators are creating new opportunities and striving to make Namibia a better place. This week we introduce one such young entrepreneur, who is making strides in the business world.

Growing up in a disadvantaged community Shapwa had to walk long distances to school and never had much at his disposal. Many nights he would go without food and would even have to go to school on an empty stomach.

All the challenges he went through made him a stronger and into the person he is today. With his background in mind, Shapwa started his business with N$50. Today he employs eight young Namibians.

“I remember that during the first 8 months I never made a profit. I always used to take money from somewhere else to be able to pay my employees. I used to have jealous people who wanted me to fail and I used to encounter people who wanted to kill my business.

“All those challenges made me aware, wiser and a stronger person today. The experiences I have had in my life growing up and going to school made me more resilient and strong enough to handle whatever life may throw my way.”

Shapwa started with producing personalised T-shirts. He recalls starting with only two T-shirts. Today he produces up to 5 000 T-shirts a day. “Most people think starting a business is easy as ABC, but many people make mistakes by starting a business to make quick money, or so that people think or see that they are doing something.

“That is why many start, but only few succeed, and it always looks easy when somebody else did it… until you try. But starting a business is not an easy thing. Yes it is possible and anybody can do it, but starting a business requires hard work, commitment, dedication.

“In business there are ups and downs. There are possibly more failures in business than successes, so be ready to go through trials and tribulations of endurance before you become the person you wanted to be.”

He says the most exciting thing about being an entrepreneur is the opportunity you have to inspire other young people, while the worst is working with bad customers and employees. The most important thing in business is knowing how to work with and approach different people, as this skill has a greater effect on your business than anything else.

“To my fellow youths, if you want to venture into business you must be a dreamer. You’ve got to have a vision and a passion in what you want to do. Believe in yourself that you can do it. Remember, to be a great businessman/woman, you should set standards and aim to reach them. If you fail once, try again. Do not allow one fall to be the end of you.”

Shapwa has been given an inspirational award through NBC’s Legends of Change. He also received an award at the Namibian Hall of Fame as the Emerging Namibian Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and his business, Sasha Investment, received an award for Excellent Customer Service 2015 at the same event.

He is a full-time mechanical engineer by profession and still runs all his businesses under Sasha Investment cc (Sasha Printing Service cc, Sasha Engineering, Sasha Charity Care Foundation, Sasha Catering and is a co-founder of the hip clothing line, Respect My Hustle).