From Humble Beginnings

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK “I started becoming an entrepreneur by selling Pep Store Flyers from a small bandwagon I made myself to help the manager make business. In LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz there was only one Pep Stores shop which had flyers, so I came up with the business idea of selling these flyers in the location.” These were the humble words with which 38-year-old well-known businessman Sidney Wilfred Martin introduced himself to junior achievers at a recent awards ceremony function last week Friday. In his enlightening pep talk to the youth about his background, it becomes apparent that Martin’s road to success already started at a tender age, five years after his parents moved to LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz where he grew up. Born on September 7, 1968 in the communal reserve of Okongava situated between Karibib and Otjimbingwe, Martin grew up most of his life in the coastal town of LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz and thus considers himself as a LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritzbuchter. Having been bitten by the “business bug” at an early age, Martin saw how important information was and still is in society today. “I loaded the Pep Stores information flyers onto my bandwagon and went to the suburb. Information is important. So I then thought to myself I’ve got the information, you have to pay for it,” said Martin with a smile, reminiscing over the good old days. Yet, as years went by, the young man’s entrepreneurial spirit did not stop there, he went on further with another business idea of making money, when he noticed that most of the children in his neighbourhood, like himself, were being sent to buy groceries at the shop. Many of them ended up carrying heavy plastic bags full of groceries, and that was the start of another brilliant business idea. “Every Saturday morning parents would send you to the shop and these kids used to pass our house. So I built a big wire truck and used it for loading the kids’ groceries at a small fee,” he explained further. From these monies Martin then bought himself a bicycle, which he then used to collect more money much quicker. Having attended his secondary education at Concordia College in Windhoek in the early Eighties, Martin used his new racing bike to make a small profit by helping his peers buy their food at Baines Centre which, at the time, was very far to walk by foot. At that time there was not much development happening, so the distances were far from each other,” he said. After completing his BA Law at theUniversity of the Western Cape, Martin then decided for himself that he would only work once for an employer and then become an independent entrepreneur. “I took the decision that I would work for one employer in my life and then I will work for myself,” he said, adding that he worked for Namdeb Diamond Corporation as a senior industrial relations officer for one and a half years. At the time, it was the first time that Namdeb was retrenching workers, and Martin then decided to resign within 24 hours and started his own company. One such notable company is the Diaz Fishing Company and another one that was officially opened by President Hifikepunye Pohamba last year was the Witvlei Abbatoir. Currently, Martin is the director of a group of companies, and is inter alia active in marketing, mining, agriculture, financial and fishing. He is also well known as a breeder of stud cattle. Having direct equity with various companies the portfolio stands at a collective turnover of approximately N$700-million. So, what’s his advice to young achievers who aspire to become successful and productive citizens one day? “Remember that successful people don’t drift to the top. It takes focussed action, personal discipline and lots of energy every day to make things happen. Don’t waste time daydreaming. Successful habits create positive rewards (and) successful people have successful habits,” he concluded.