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Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

By Melkisedek-Shivute Ausiku

Founder of LEFA

Starting and running a business is very much like riding a crazy rollercoaster at a funfair. Exciting, dangerous and it assaults the senses like nothing else. Do you sit and scream and close your eyes, or do you sit and enjoy the ride and anticipate the next loop, dip and climb? When I started LEFA, the ride-hailing company right here in Namibia that works through a smartphone app, I was full of optimism. I still am, but it has been slightly tempered and it’s been a crazy ride so far.

We all feel our struggles are unique and in some ways they are, however as an entrepreneur we also go through several similar stages. Once you’ve started the business, the various stages of this rollercoaster ride occur over and over again. Simply making payments that are due every month provides enough excitement and sometimes cold sweats.

Stage 1: This first stage of the concept is called “Uninformed Optimism”. At this stage on a rollercoaster, just getting to the top of the rollercoaster, you experience feeling of an adrenalin rush, characterised by excitement and nervous energy. LEFA definitely made me experience this when it launched by excitement and nervous energy. LEFA definitely made me experience this when it launched. Would the people embrace it? Would there be sponsors and would investors start showing an interest? We assumed they would and thought we would be an overnight success… well, ‘an-over one month’ success, perhaps.

Stage 2: The Second stage is called “Informed Pessimism”. As you ride over the top of the curve you now have a bit more information. Feelings of fear, nervousness, and furstration begin to set in. Perhaps you even want to get off of it. This too was a sensation I embraced almost unknowingly. Will it work, will people download the app, would drivers sign on… all things that kept me awake at night. Being a young entrepreneur suddenly seemed a lot more daunting.

Stage 3: The third stage is called “Crisis of Meaning”. You’re past scared. You feel despair. It’s as if you’re standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, and you begin to think “today the rollercoaster’s going off the bottom of the track for the very first time.” LEFA was getting downloaded, but the expenses kept coming and discussions with drivers and potential investor took much longer.

At this point, you face a critical juncture. You can come off the bottom of the curve and crash and burn, which is when your business goes bankrupt or you get a stress burn-out. Or you can come around the corner because you’re getting support at “Crisis of Meaning” and you can enter an upward swing called “Informed Optimism”. LEFA started getting attraction in the media. I was able to attend Vivatech Paris and FABlab Namibia became a big supporter and LEFA was invited on a Trade Mission by the government to Portugal. Along with NBL as sponsor, seeing some investors becoming interested, meant that LEFA and I were weathering the storm. We weren’t on dry land yet, but the hellish conditions were behind us for now.

Stage 4: Informed Optimism. You’re calm. You’re informed. You might even say you are cautiously optimistic. This cautious optimism, is all it is. It’s very fragile at best. But, it does seem as if LEFA has gone from being a rollercoaster ride with its hair on fire to a more manageable ride with bumps, but definitely no fire.

In Namibia we dream of a good paying job and alternatively we dream of making it big as an entrepreneur. There’s something to be said for both side. I have experienced both sides and despite the crazy moments, the uncertainty and the ever-looming moment of your hair being on fire, being an entrepreneur is definitely the way forward. Especially with a business like LEFA, where we are offering a great service which has proven success internationally and which keeps Namibia’s roads safe. I will choose entrepreneurship each and every time. Especially because I know there are people and businesses out there that want LEFA to thrive and succeed.


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.