Born in Lubango, Angola 34 years ago, Kennedy Liswani is one young man destined for greatness. He started primary school in Oshakati and moved to Windhoek in 1994 to finish his primary education at People’s Primary School (PPS) and completed his secondary schooling at Ella Du Plessis before moving to South-Africa for tertiary education.
Having four sisters and a brother, life was fun. “Growing up was really adventurous and difficult because my parents moved around a lot from one country to another with their diplomatic missions,’’ he says further pointing out that “food was always on the table and I had a good early childhood education and that to me is all that mattered’’. Now what would life be without someone that you look up to. “ I’m inspired by Apple founder Steve Jobs for his bold way of thinking and his crazy idea that he could change the world, and look at the world now’’, says Liswani. “I mean the man literally invented the smartphone as we know it today, and it’s difficult to imagine the world without his ideas and it was he that made me realise that everything we see with our naked eyes is created by ordinary human beings just like us, hence my belief that I can do everything”, stresses Liswani.
Changing the world through innovation is something Kennedy Liswani strives towards, pointing out that “being an entrepreneur in Namibia is not relatively difficult – yes it has its challenges but I would honestly say it depends on your outlook and how you position yourself and I for one do not consider myself as a Namibian entrepreneur but rather as a Pan-African entrepreneur”.
“The biggest challenge is always funding your business but apart from that I think finding the motivation to keep going, finding a reason not to give up is the biggest challenge,” he stresses. One of Liswani’s innovations is the ‘Katoshe’ phone. “The Katoshe phone is truly a special innovation that is close to my heart and it is the reason why I am where I am today and it truly opened up countless opportunities, apart from the official launch having being delayed due to funding,” says Liswani regretfully.
Hard work does pay off eventually and the Katoshe phone will be on the market this April. Liswani was bestowed five awards last year including Founder of the Year in Southern Africa and Best Newcomer, amongst many other awards. Apart from the awards and the Katoshe phone, Liswani recently completed writing a book titled ‘Just Start’. He drafted the book for about eight years but took two years writing it. “The Just Start book that I recently completed writing is a basic start-up up guide that I have been working on for many years and I eventually finished it last year and I thought the best time to publish it is now,” Liswani explains. The book presents simple business guidelines in a rich and brief manner, according to Liswani. “It teaches crucial lessons vital for every start-up entrepreneur.” In less than 100 pages, Liswani makes sure the necessary information required to start a business is covered from the business registration process and doing proper market research to financial planning. “Just Start is a practical and comprehensible crash course that is assured to offer authentic value,” outlines Liswani. The aim of publishing the book, according to Liswani, is to guide and share valuable information and business insight that every starting entrepreneur should know before starting her/his business.
Liswani further advises fellow entrepreneurs to find creative ways to fund their business as there are various ways to fund a small business apart from taking bank loans. “Loans are not ideal for start-ups because the only certainty with a bank loan is that you will pay it back regardless of business success or failure,” he says.