By Staff Reporter
Namibian entrepreneur Zecka Martens has penetrated the lucrative export market of Angola with his small-scale business, Pro Upholstery Base, that does modifications on commercial cargo vehicles, customizing them into minibuses.
Martens started his business in 2002 in Oshakati after he identified the need for quality upholstery services in the north.
It operates from its own premises in that town’s Okandjengedi suburb. Since the inception of the business, the firm has regularly expanded its profile and now offers a tent and canvas cover repair service as well.
The staff complement of the company has now grown to 15 full-time employees.
According to SME Compete, Namibia’s upholstery sector plays a crucial role in the growth of the local economy.
Apart from the more established and known upholstery firms, there are a number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the sector.
“The exciting business development at Pro Upholstery Base holds two obvious benefits for Namibia. First, import substitution, an approach that substitutes foreign-produced goods and services with locally manufactured ones,” said SME Compete, a local consultancy firm assisting Namibian SMEs.
By doing so, said SME Compete, local firms design and manufacture items previously imported and thereby save valuable foreign currency for the country.
Marten’s business initiative has resulted in the firm entering the export market and in the process generating foreign exchange for the country.
“It is factual that SMEs are the engine of economic growth in every country.
“Not only do they provide employment and income-generating opportunities for many, but it has been observed that they frequently respond more rapidly to challenges and opportunities,” said SME Compete.