Twenty-one years ago Mahevo Amkongo quit his job as a technician installing security systems for his boss to pursue his own business interests in that field.
At the time Amkongo, who was 25 years old, was among the first black people to venture into the business of installing security systems, including security alarms.
It was no walk in the park as he had to work hard to secure clients and also to meet the demands of his suppliers who were very strict with supplying materials.
“I was fed up,” Amkongo says, motivating why he wanted to venture into business. At the time there were about seven security system companies in the country but none of them were black-owned, Amkongo explains.
“I was the first, if not the second, black guy to have a security-systems installing company,” adds Amkongo. He remembers taking “a risk”.
“I just thought enough is enough, why can’t I do my own thing. I never had a loan and getting materials was not easy because there were two suppliers and they were strict,” he says of the hurdles he faced.
Amkongo had to travel between Windhoek and the north (Ongwediva and surrounding areas) to meet and serve clients in the early days of his business.
Today, Amkongo’s security systems company, which is called OPP (Only Protecting Properties), only serves Windhoek-based customers. This is due to the high number of similar companies in the north and other parts of the country.
Amkongo has since ventured into other businesses, including farming, and he employs 25 people.
His new kid on the block is a laundry service based in Katutura. TATAZ Laundry Services opened its doors to the public in January.
“I saw the need to start this because we have very few dry cleaners around Windhoek,” he says.
TATAZ Laundry Services is different from the rest because of its cheap prices, says Amkongo. “We want to attract clients,” he motivates. There is provision for pick-up and delivery of clients’ laundry, notes Amkongo.
For now, clients get their clothes on the same day, he adds. This is because “we are not very busy”.
For five kilogrammes of laundry, clients pay N$150 for washing. Then there is TATAZ Cleaning Services that specialises in other cleaning services.
Amkongo feels youth need to do more to empower themselves in business. “Before that, however, it is important that people know what they want before they venture into business. Seek advice and do research before you do anything. We need to come up with more ideas.”
Furthermore, Amkongo feels that the agricultural sector has been neglected, especially by the youth. Yet, this sector has so many opportunities, especially in crop production, he says.
“If the youth really want to work they should look at that sector of crop production. There are risks here and there but it’s worth it.”
Amkongo’s future plans include expanding his businesses beyond Windhoek and to empower people with business skills.
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