As we enter Opuwo we are received by not one but five small dust storms in all directions. I believe this goes to metaphorically explain that Opuwo is not asleep, she is constancy moving, developing, and making sure that every day she gathers what she needs to become a greater force.
As you enter you feel the sense of hustle and entrepreneurship everywhere. Whether it is from the Themba and Himba ladies selling their handmade jewellery to tourists and locals willing to lend an ear and vendors selling accessories such as shirts, shoes and other small gadgets from their stalls. You can see that this is a town of people who wake up every day and strive to provide and take care of their families with any means necessary, which brings me to the lesson the town has taught us. You need to find something you are good at and make sure that even amid competition your product or service is the one that stands out, whether you do it through packaging or your customer service.
Opuwo is the capital of the Kunene Region in north-western Namibia. The town is situated about 720 km north-northwest from the capital Windhoek and has a population of 20,000. It is the commercial hub of the Kunene Region and the people are friendly and helpful wherever you go. Opuwo is a town of great harmony and choice, as you walk or drive around you can see a mixture of traditional attire as well as western clothing such as t-shirts and jeans.
A quick reminder about what brought us to this lovely town: The MatchME2Funding project is an Impact Tank and Start Up Namibia initiative that aspires to address the problem of limited access to entrepreneurship training and financial services for start-ups by facilitating a nationwide matching-making event. The program is currently engaging and preparing a total of 200 start-ups in 10 selected towns from the 5 geographical areas for matching to potential funders. The MatchME2Funding Opuwo program took place at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Hall from 8-10 November 2021.
One of the judges, Mr. Victorino Simon encouraged the participants to start mentoring other young people to join programs such as MatchME2Funding. As it is the only way the town would grow and develop more people who can potentially create the next best business idea. He said this after he observed that he sees the same faces at every business event or program held in Opuwo. Mr. Simon was joined by P-Wake Holdings Founder and Businessman Mr. Pandukeni Joseph, Receiver of Revenue Mr. Glenn Kaizemi from the Ministry of Labour, and Gerhardt Makono who is the Economic Development Officer for the Opuwo Town Council.
The 3rd prize of N$3500 went to Rufus Sheehama who is the founder of Crystal Media a company that provides photography, videography, graphic design and photo printing to the residence of Opuwo. He has currently employed and mentored two youth from his community and aims to focus his business more on live streaming as he believes this is an untapped service that is very necessary. Turimuno Elwin Tjaveondja walked away with the 2nd prize of N$4250 for his woodwork technology business named Tjatu Trading CC. Turimuno Elwin Tjaveondja and his business focuses on buying and selling building materials and he says that he has helped his customers by bringing the products closer.
Uakutura Kambaekua saw that the Region and its constituencies had little to no airtime on national broadcasters and radio stations, so he came up with the idea of a community radio. He said some of the benefits of his business would be affordability and the fact that he aims to cover the whole of Kunene Region. This is the reason Mr. Kambaekua walked away with the 1st place price of N$5000, because his idea was unique, and his business had a high growth rate.
Stay tuned for updates from our next town, Ongwediva!