Popya with Melkisedek Shivute Ausiku: Retrenchment led him to business

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Pinehas Nakaziko

Windhoek-Retrenched from his previous job as an electrical engineer last year, 27-year-old Melkisedek Shivute Ausiku decided to establish a transportation company, LEFA, that owns a transportation app which connects drivers and passengers.

Passengers are required to register by entering a valid cellphone number and email address. It allows commuters to request a shuttle by simply entering the location to which they would like to be taken to. LEFA operates in Windhoek, Hosea Kutako International Airport, safari lodges and game farms surrounding Windhoek. It provides convenient cash and cashless payment options to passengers. It also allows passengers to view a driver’s information and vehicle’s details before they ride, as well as the ability to track their requested driver in real-time once the ride has been confirmed. Passengers are given the opportunity to rate the driver and help LEFA improve its service delivery.

“The challenge at the moment is whether LEFA is a transportation company or software company. Since LEFA does not own a fleet of vehicles and has merely developed an application, we are leaning more towards the software company’s side,” says Ausiku.

Born in Oshakati in the Oshana Region, growing up partially in the village of Omphakoya, and Swakopmund where he completed his secondary school education, Ausiku says life has always presented him with drastic changes that he had to adjust to quickly. “I started schooling in the village, and my English proficiency was below average. In Grade 4, my parents sent me to Swakopmund for a better education. I was met with a language barrier at school. I had to catch up with English and Afrikaans,” says Ausiku.

His challenge was when he got retrenched last year as an electrical engineer at the Emcon Consulting Group, due to the downturn in the country’s economy. But this did not stop him from moving forward. “I have since been self-employed, and proudly founded LEFA,” he says.

Since childhood, Ausiku has always been drawn to the technical side of life. “I remember telling my father I want to become a pilot. Somewhere along the way, I got drawn towards engineering. This I can attribute to my passion for fixing things and the hunger to know how things work.”

He studied electrical engineering at the University of Pretoria. “I successfully completed my undergraduate degree and started working at an engineering consulting firm in Windhoek in 2015. Exactly two years and seven months into my engineering career, I got retrenched. With the construction industry being one of the hardest hit in the economy, jobs for engineers were scarce. That’s when the entrepreneurial journey started,” he explains.

With a passion for success, he wants to contribute to the growth of the country’s economy through alleviating poverty through job creation. “I am also aware that my own success can inspire a lot of other people. I feel I have this duty to instill inspiration in fellow young people. A living testament that one can achieve anything you dream of,” says a proud Ausiku. He sees himself leading a company making a significant impact. “I also see myself leading a transportation company that would revolutionise   the transportation industry through technology, especially by significantly reducing the carnage on our roads,” he says.

“Do what you love and you will never have to work in your life. Whatever business you want to start, put people’s needs first and you will never run out of customers. Put people first and profits will come after,” is his message to the youth.

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