Windhoek-Helena Negonga, 28, is a strong-minded and ambitious woman hailing from the northern part of the country.
Raised by a single mother together with her three siblings, finances were always a challenge in their household. This motivated her to start a small business while she was still attending the Polytechnic of Namibia, now Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
“I used to do nails and used to charge N$20, and I would always give my mom a share of my profits. At that time, it was a lot of money for me,” says Helena.
She studied accounting and finance at NUST from 2007. In 2009, Helena got her first job as a receptionist at Standard Bank and started paying her own school fees. She later moved to Nedbank, where she works at MMI Holdings as an employee benefits consultant.
In 2013, she initiated her own company known as D’Helen Investments. She says with her company, she ventured into so many business ideas, including nail technician training, catering services, cleaning services, nail salon, kiddies’ parties, marketing services, educational tutorials, events management and so forth.
“Last year I realised that it was best for me to concentrate on something that I loved the most, which is nail technician training, instead of doing too many things at the same time. I still do events coordination and catering, when time permits.”
Negonga has so far trained over 450 women countrywide.
“I’m helping them to help themselves and their families,” she says. “I constantly tell people to try and make money from what they’re good at and what they love the most, even in its smallest way possible.
“Always dream big, but start small and if things don’t go well, at least you haven’t spent too much that you can’t get back on your feet again.”
She also runs a campaign called “Feed the Men on the Streets”, which aims to support men who are looking for jobs alongside the road.
“We also go deep in Katutura and feed the less fortunate, hand over clothing items and toys donated by friends and families.”
In five years’ time, Helena sees herself running a beauty school and having one of the largest and leading events management companies in the country.