Female group breaks barriers in male-dominated motor industry
The local motor industry is overwhelmingly male-dominated, but recently a group of women have defied the odds when the Wangara Automotive group stamped its foot print on the industry and opened its showroom in Prosperita. The momentous event was graced with the presence of the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila who inaugurated the premises.
Officially opening its doors last week, the Wangara Automotive Group started the business off with services like fleet management and vehicle tracking and incrementally added services like; vehicle sales,vehicle leasing, fleet management, tyre supply, tyre fitment, fuel lubricants, batteries supply, friction material and an array of motor related services. The Wangara Automotive Group also operates a branch in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial area.
The brains behind the group consists of the dedicated team of Elizabeth Asino, Justina Shingenge, Christophine Amukwa and Ndahambelela Nangolo, who shared the same vision to offer services that ensures people’s vehicles are safe. The only man in the group is Ken Joseph, the operations manager.
Elizabeth Asino-Joseph, a co-founder said “our journey started some three years ago when one of us had the bright idea of bringing us together with a conviction based on the famous Oshiwambo saying that translates to, ‘If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”
“Armed with this conviction, we called most of the people we knew to parliament gardens and we pitched the idea to them. The catch was that we had to contribute a substantial amount of money over a period of time, in order to enter into any meaningful business,” she added explaining that with the high number of motor vehicle accidents in Namibia they saw a market opportunity and wanted to provide a service that would help people understand their cars better and improve safety of vehicles.
According to the co-founder, the team managed to round up financial funds through monthly contributions for a period of two years, and after this they felt they had amassed enough to venture into business on their own. “Those who were willing to contribute signed up. Over the contribution period, we researched fields of business that would have an in impact to Namibia’s well being,” she added. The team managed to rent a place in the Northern Industrial Area, never letting go of the hope that one day they will get their own place. From that point on they never looked back. Despite the challenges of penetrating an industry where men run the show, Asino-Joseph said they had a lot of help from all their partners, suppliers, and patrons. At the same time we have had a lot of sleepless nights. Financial institutions are challenging to say the least,” she said quickly adding that they entrenched the spirit of never say die. As a group of women with a shared vision, they were determined to keep on moving hence the position they occupy in the industry today. Currently the Wangara Automotive Group employs over 20 Namibian youths, most who got on the job training from the group’s skilled employees as well as from the members themselves.