OUTAPI – Being a young entrepreneur is not easy, according to Modric Shikalepo, a 29-year-old braai stand maker who saw the need to make user-friendly stands for the braai lovers out there.
Shikalepo told Youth Corner he decided to venture into braai stand making because he noticed people have always had issues with the old conventional stands. “I always thought of fabricating something unique and advanced so I looked at kapana vendors, friends and family members during festive seasons how they braai then I came up with a better product,” he explained.
Shikalepo, who holds Diploma in Boilermaking from the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology in Tsumeb and further pursued Coded Welding at Southampton City College in Johannesburg, says venturing into braai stand making is not a walk in the park but somebody has to make them. “The market is quite challenging but I am happy that with the few stands I have made so far, people are buying them,” he admitted.
The young boilermaker, based at Onambelela, some 10km from Outapi along the Oshakati main road, makes the stands on request. “I make the stands at home, based on the requests from potential customers who have an interest in them,” he narrated.
Having started in November last year, Shikalepo said the biggest challenge is capital to make different designs and put them on display.
The self-employed Shikalepo stated there are a lot of costs associated with making the exotic braai stands. “The cost depends on the size of the stand, design and type of materials to be used.”
In addition, Shikalepo revealed that has a Hydraulic Bending Press, Guillotine Shear Machine, Pedestal Drilling Machine to cut and bend plates accurately and faster but due to lack of funds, they are not yet set or installed. He said it takes him approximately four to five hours to make a stand. With the scarcity of jobs in the country, Shikalepo revealed he has found a niche in the market. “My aspiration right now is to aggressively introduce this product to the masses. The dream is to keep on making these user-friendly masterpieces. At the end of the day, I want my clients to be happy. It is quality over quantity for me,” he confidently stated.