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Here are the semi-finalists for the 2017 Namibian Businesswoman of the Year awards

Here are the semi-finalists for the 2017 Namibian Businesswoman of the Year awards


The category winners will be announced at the Businesswomen Awards Gala Banquet on Wednesday 18 October. The grand title, Namibian Businesswoman of the Year, will be awarded to the best candidate among the category winners. The Young Businesswoman is not eligible for the grand title.


In the category Business Owner:

Since the judges’ scores in the preliminary rounds of adjudication were so close, the further judging process merits five semi-finalists instead of the usual three.

Mariane Akwenye, Founder and CEO of Nomad Holdings.
Namibia’s first black female commercial pilot, Mariane also nurtured an interest in wellness and holistic healing. This she translated into action when she founded Nomad African Spa in 2009 to provide wellness treatment and massages based on ancient Namibian nomadic practices offered in a modern African setting. Nomad African Spa was voted Best Day Spa in Africa for two consecutive years at the World Spa Awards in 2015 and 2016. Through the Nomad Institute for Holistic Training, she offers young people training for a career in complementary healthcare and caregiving.

Ina Cramer, Managing Director of Cramer Ice Cream.
Hailing from Soest in Germany, Ina moved to Namibia to follow her dream, and never went back. Married to a Professional Hunter, she bought cows and started producing dairy products as a sideline venture. She manufactured soft cheese, yoghurt and kefir. Realising the potential to improve her business profits, she started making ice cream which was initially supplied to retailers in Windhoek. In 2015 she opened her own ice cream parlour in Independence Avenue in Windhoek. At first only a place to sell ice cream, it now has evolved into the well-known Cramer family brand for dairy.

Ingrid Mettler, Managing Director of International Training College Lingua.
As the founder of one of the first private institutions of higher learning, Ingrid is very familiar with the demands of higher education and the business aspects of such an institution. She started Lingua College from her flat with only a single computer. From those modest beginnings, and with less than 50 students in 2002, the college currently has a student community of more than 2000 people studying full-time, part-time, distance and online. College Lingua, employing 63 people full-time and with a host of part-time workers, serves their student corps from eight buildings. The college has recently bought 9000 square metres of land where it will construct a state-of-the-art campus.

Claudette Nahum, Managing Member of Solid Ground Investments and Leading Edge Management Consultants.
Trading as Tile Emporium, Claudette and her business partners provide the Namibian construction industry with flooring options and ancillary products sourced from internationally renowned, environmentally aware, technologically innovative suppliers through exceptional service and competitive prices. Their aim is to differentiate and establish the Tile Emporium as a competent and reliable supplier of high quality, innovative, yet affordable tiles and tiling products. Her responsibilities as Managing Member cover from supplier and customer relations to developing and implementing processes and procedures, setting prices and executing their business strategy.

Irene Simeon-Kurtz, Chief Executive of the Steelform Group and owner of Usakos Engen.
As 100% shareholder in all her businesses, Irene follows a pro-active hands-on approach. This same style is what kickstarted her mission as entrepreneur four years ago when she convinced the owner of Usakos Engen to sell the service station to her despite it not being in the market. Soon after, she also took over Khan River Service Station. She runs a successful marketing company, Be Marketed Namibia and a property company, Steelform Investments. She is the Chairperson of the PowerCom Board, Vice Chairperson of Telecom Namibia and a Trustee of the Namport Social Development Fund.


In the category Community and Government Sector:

Elsie Shinedima, Executive Producer: New Business at NBC.
As Executive Producer, it is Elsie’s responsibility to supervise the work of her subordinates in the production department. Her duties also include developing and recommending new business ideas to generate additional commercial revenue for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation. To this end, she coordinates and supervises the production of corporate videos, advertisements and promotional material for TV, and the marketing of audio and video material. She continues to research and develop new revenue-generating ideas which fit the profile of the NBC as national broadcaster.

Louise Shixwameni, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Enterprises.
The mandate of her ministry is to transform public enterprises to make a meaningful contribution to the economy and to society. Reforming public enterprises is a gigantic task. These entities are an important national asset collectively worth more than N$65 billion but they still require an annual capital injection of more than N$2 billion. In her former role as Director of Performance Improvement in the Office of the Prime Minister, she guided the performance management system for the whole public service. Her current duties include providing strategic advice to the Minister, Deputy Minister and Permanent Secretary to transform public enterprises into profitable, accountable and vibrant businesses.


In the category Corporate and Private Sector:

Nangula Kauluma, Managing Director of Old Mutual Short-term Insurance.
Over the past eleven years Nangula has held leadership roles within several Old Mutual Emerging Markets business units, both in Namibia and South Africa. She has developed and implemented the strategy to build a single Old Mutual brand across Africa. She was also instrumental in introducing customer centricity to key business processes and practices, developing sustainability strategies and leading large-scale organisational change. She articulated the strategic direction for the Mutual & Federal brand in South Africa, later rebranded to Old Mutual Insure.

Mildy Samaria, Managing Director of Cornastone Information Technology Services.
Mildy is the first woman to be appointed Managing Director of Cornastone, an executive position on the company’s board. She is also a non-executive director of ABB Namibia and a trustee of the Craton Foundation. The Cornastone brand is made up of unique and customized IT solutions for every customer’s business needs. Cornastone designs, supplies and implements purpose-built IT infrastructure solutions comprising hardware and software. The company provides ongoing support to its clients across all industries to ensure maximum return on investment.

Trula Zoganas, Head: Private Banking at Nedbank Namibia.
A banking professional with over 26 years’ experience, Trula has moved through the ranks, completing several qualifications until she was promoted to the Head of Private Banking. She leads the department by driving excellence and building trust through communication, reaching or exceeding financial targets, and continuous developing and training of her staff. Private banking is personalized financial and banking services provided to a bank’s high net worth clients. She has a passion for customer service, is results orientated and pays attention to detail. She has been awarded by Nedbank on numerous occasions.


In the category Young Businesswoman:

Namtenya Aksel, Owner of Tenya Investments.
A sprout of SMEs Compete, Tenya manufactures a range of hand-crafted jewellery and trades in local and foreign art and crafts of African ethnic origin. From very humble beginnings and with limited start-up capital, she has systematically grown her enterprise over a five-year period. The company now occupies a strategically well-located showroom in the Old Brewery Craft Market with a customer base that keeps on growing in step with the growing product range. Her products have been exhibited at shows in Germany, South Africa, Italy, France and the United Arab Emirates. Her personal business icon is the late Harold Pupkewitz.


Esmerelda Katjaerua, Owner of Katjaerua Legal Practitioners.
There was never any doubt in Esmerelda’s mind that she wants to be a lawyer. Even while studying, she worked at a law firm as a student assistant. She was admitted as legal practitioner in July 2013 collecting several professional accolades in her first three and a half years. Early in 2017 she decided it was time to fly solo and she established her own practice, a small boutique law firm based in Windhoek. “I love the practice of law, being in court and actually winning cases. I love how grateful clients are when you have achieved what you should have,” she says about her passion for the law.


About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA (hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees in Philosophy and Divinity. Publisher and Editor of the Namibia Economist since February 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 32 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. He is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional journalists. From time to time he helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. Since October 2021, he conducts a weekly talkshow on Radio Energy, again for a lay audience. On 04 September 2022, he was ordained as a Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church of Africa (NHKA). Send comments or enquiries to [email protected]