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Women of Substance make their mark in their respective occupations

Women of Substance make their mark in their respective occupations

The winners in the three categories of the Namibian Businesswoman of the Year Awards were announced on Wednesday evening at a Gala Banquet at the Safari Court Conference Centre in Windhoek. The new Young Namibian Businesswoman was named in a separate category.

Category Business Owner

Irene Simeon-Kurtz, the founder, owner and Chief Executive of the Steelform Group, and the owner of Engen 1 Stop Usakos, was chosen by the judges as the winner of this category.

In her nominee submission, Irene stated:

“Four years ago, during my last employment at GIPF, I decided that I needed to starts my own business and go the entrepreneurial route. I approached the owner of Usakos Service Station at the time, as the business was not in the market. Due to its strategic location, I believed the service station had a lot of potential as it is the stopover for most Namibians on the way to the coast. The service station is the largest employer in town with 66 employees.”

“After the Engen Usakos buyout with the help of DBN, I further took over the Khan River Service Station, run a successful marketing company, Be Marketed Namibia, and a property company, Steelform Investments. I am a 100% shareholder in all entities.”

“I am part of a community where there was no hope, no progress, no life, no development. People felt Usakos will become a ghost town. Therefore I am proud that in my little contribution, I instilled hope into the people and the community I serve.”

The judges in this category were Josephat Mwatotele, the Chief Executive of Ashburton Investments, Claudine Mouton, the Chief Executive of SME Compete, and Hannelie Eksteen, the Chief Executive of BPT Consulting Services.

Category Community & Government

Louise Shixwameni, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the new Ministry of Public Enterprises, came out in this category as the strongest contender.

In her nominee submission, Louise stated:

“I recently joined the Ministry of Public Enterprises as a Deputy Permanent Secretary, a new challenge that I am looking forward to face with passion and determination, The mandate of the ministry is to champion the transformation of Public Enterprises so that they can make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian economy and society.”

“In my last assignment, as a Director of Performance Improvement (OPM), I successfully managed to direct and guide the cascading of the Performance Management System in the whole public service. Starting with the signing of Performance Management Agreements by Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, right through the entire rank and file of the public service.”

“I directed and oversaw the development of proper performance monitoring and evaluation tools in Government. This was the first time that the Government of the Republic of Namibia had a fully-fledged and functional performance management system.”

The judges in this category were Gersom Katjimune, retired Chief Executive of Mutual & Federal and owner of Farm Moria, Helene Vosloo, the Head: Economics and Sector Research at CRAN, and Jantje Daun, a financial expert in the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

Category Corporate & Private Sector

Nangula Kauluma, the Managing Director of Old Mutual Short-term Insurance, impressed the judges with her single-minded devotion, her attention to detail, and her flair for meticulous planning.

In her nominee submission, Nangula stated:

“As the Managing Director, I am responsible for the profit & loss operation of our short-term insurance business, reporting to the Old Mutual Namibia Group CEO and board of directors of Old Mutual Short-term Instance. I provide strategic leadership to the business and am accountable for creating culture and strategies to drive profitable growth across our personal, commercial and specialty lines of insurance.”

“I am a self-proclaimed “Solutions Person” and because of my creative and open-minded ways, I find that I am really good at solving stuff. I’m great at connecting dots, people, themes, patterns. I easily frame and see the big picture and because I’m equally capable of understanding the complexity of whatever system or set of systems support it, I believe I have a good sense of what needs to happen and where, in the system.”

“Having a diverse group of people working together to solve challenges, find new opportunities, define the responses to these opportunities, is the only way to effectively ensure the sustainability of a business.”

“The most critical responsibility of a leader is to leave an organisation or institution in a better state for those that are still to come. My biggest job is to help build tomorrow’s leaders and in my personal capacity I regularly mentor people who have identified specific things they wish to learn from me.”

The judges in this category were Gersom Katjimune, retired Chief Executive of Mutual & Federal and owner of Farm Moria, Helene Vosloo, the Head: Economics and Sector Research at CRAN, and Jantje Daun, a financial expert in the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

Young Namibian Businesswoman of the Year

Esmerelda Katjaerua of Katjaerua Legal Practitioners was named the winner in this category. She is a young lawyer who decided to open her own practice earlier this year.


The awards are sponsored by Telecom Namibia, a supporter for over twenty years, Bank Windhoek, a new headline sponsor, and Jaguar Windhoek. Smaller sponsors comprise Roots Importers, Regus Business Centre, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Events Unlimited and Hotel Safari. The awards have been organised and presented by the Namibia Economist for 24 years.



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]