Namibian creative and entrepreneur Pinehas Shikulo, known as Zuluboy, says young business owners and prospective ones must be well prepared for the world of business, as things are not as rosy as they seem.
“Expecting the unexpected can be a good start,” he told the gathering at the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative (APLI)’s first-ever Game-Changers Summit in Windhoek recently when he indulged participants on his journey in developing Gweri Vintage Collection and the necessary efforts to collaborate.
Over 20 entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and young leaders from across Namibia attended the event, which was aimed at upskilling APLI Alumni with critical skills for growing their businesses and social enterprises as well as supporting them in their personal and professional development.
Several speakers shared their learned wisdom on different topics such as breaking barriers; developing robust, sustainable and profitable businesses; mental wellness and professional development, while encouraging them to continue their great work in contributing to national development.
Shikulo told Youth Corner that one of the toughest hurdles in the sector is to beg for assistance in setting up a business.
“People with power and influence always want to be begged; those getting into the world of entrepreneurship should know this. The other issue is when presenting one’s idea; they are usually turned down but you, later on, find that your idea has been stolen, so consulting institutions like the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) can be a way out – even though sometimes ideas are manipulated,” he noted.
Shikulo also encouraged the alumni to knock on doors that appear to be closed and to make sure they are memorable in the ways they present themselves.
“You need to see who you talk to and whom you can trust; figure that out first. One thing I can tell you is that it is never going to be an easy journey, keep on pushing and have this mentality that things will not always work in your favour. It doesn’t matter who you are; some things just don’t work out,” he blatantly stated.
Speaking at the same event, author Rawan Taha equipped the attendees with tactics on how they can best position themselves in the job market and also gave them tools to sharpen their CVs, résumés and cover letters while speaking on how to land a job in international organisations.
“It is important to constantly hone your craft and build your skills through online courses, learning on the job and mentorship,” stressed Taha.
Naboth de Celestino, one of the alumni, described the summit as beneficial to his personal and professional growth because it covered aspects of how young people can actively address issues they are facing to truly effect the changes they want to see in life.
“It is important that APLI, through its programmes, always prioritises mental health talks,” said De Celestino.
Sem Mandela Uutoni, APLI’s founder and executive director, said since APLI’s establishment in 2018, the association has trained over 300 youth nationwide.
“True to its mandate of connecting, engaging and empowering its beneficiaries, the organisation continues to back its alumni even after graduating from the fellowship programme to ensure they continue on their path of being change-makers in their communities.”