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Be your own boss

Linekela Nghaamwa, Manager of Epata Events Management and Caterers.

Linekela Nghaamwa, Manager of Epata Events Management and Caterers.

Often SME’s are encouraged to grow into bigger establishments but in reality, most of them struggle to make it into the local market. It is only with continuous hard work and related support that they can grow.
Established in November 2010, Epata Events Management and Caterers started off like any other enterprise, from scratch, operating from home and struggling to find clients on a regular basis.
But recently, the small company has reached a milestone after opening its own restaurant in the heart of Katutura, in Golgota.
Officially opened late last month, what started off as merely a dream has now materialised into an actual restaurant. An HIV/AIDS Activist by profession, Linekela Nghaamwa is the manager of Epata Events. She told the Economist that the reason why she quit her job is simply because she wanted to cook. “I love cooking and whilst people see this as a hobby, for me this is my job. And I am proud of the milestone (restaurant) that I have opened.”
She said that while many of her peers remain reluctant to pursue their business ideas and ideals, she did not want to work for someone else and make them rich.”I wanted to be my own boss, be responsible for my own income and enhance the livelihoods of others while at it.”
Nghaamwa said that although a lot of hard work lies ahead, the biggest step which was setting up the restaurant, is now behind them. “My clients have always loved and appreciated the food that I make and when they complimented me on my catering, it triggered my dream of a small restaurant and some of them actually encouraged me to open a small restaurant.”
The company now permanently employs four of its previously part-time staff to run the restaurant which means that they can cater for events and operate the restaurant at the same time.
She said that although catering food is made according to client specification, the restaurant tries to bring traditional cuisine to the table, giving clients a smile when they spend their money.
“We sell traditional marathon chicken, Edhingu (dry meat), matangara, mahangu porridge, chicken legs and heads, goat heads as well as western cuisines on special days as demand for that is not as high as for traditional foodstuff.”
Nghaamwa said that the reason for this is simply because selling foodstuff like rice does not really sell due to the fact that people cook this in their homes but things like chicken legs is something that an ordinary household does not prepare on a regular basis. Therefore clients do not come to the restaurant because we offer what they eat in their homes but because we bring in something new, yet traditional.
She said that being in the catering business is not an easy task as two months can pass without a single client to cater for but at good times like last month they catered for different companies for three consecutive weeks which is rare. “That is also why we opened the restaurant so that we can provide our individual clients meals even when we do not have catering tenders.”
Nghaamwa said that all the training courses she has attended in the past has helped her grow as a businesswomen and complimented the Ministry of Youth under the National Youth Credit Scheme (i-Business) for their contribution towards SME growth. “I owe all the business management experience I have gained to that programme and I would encourage every young person who wishes to start a business to go through it.”

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