A tempest at Upi Kitchens
Matjiwa Steven Upi always had a passion for owning his own business so he decided to start Upi Kitchens & Joinery Designs after he was retrenched from his work at a local joinery in 2004.
“When working at a joinery company, I did a lot of work in my spare time and practised to become perfect. I enjoyed joinery and decided to start my own company when I was suddenly unemployed. I started off in the garage at home in 2005 and today we operate from our own workshop and with a staff complement of 16,” he said.
Upi Kitchens & Joinery Designs (with the latest computer aided design software) manufactures joinery work for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, office and schools. The work typically includescabinets, reception counters, boardrooms, shelving, cupboards, and a range of shelves. The company also specializes in the making of tables, chairs, bar stools, bars and kitchen counters.
Upi said Upi Kitchens has just recently opened its doors as a franchise in Ondangwa, located behind the Shoprite supermarket at the junction of the Ondangwa-Oshikango road.
This success has prompted him to start planning for similar arrangements at the coast, as well as the Okango Region.
He said, when Upi Kitchens was established in 2005 it started with only two employees and now it has grown to 16 employees on a permanent basis and 4 trainees.
“Some of the employees are based at the Ondangwa branch. There are approximately 100 people who are benefiting indirectly from the employment of our staff,” Upi added.
Upi said looking back at the last eight years, a number of highlights have come to mind, the first one having been the finance by FNB SME. “Without that nothing would have been possible.”
“I today still thank my bank for believing me and trusting me to do the right thing and to become a success. More highlights include owning a workshop, appointing a professional, qualified interior designer, landing big projects such as the FNB Gobabis branch through a subcontract, Namibia Re-insurance company and Bank of Namibia annual contracts and securing a N$7million tender for high income flats in Kleine Kuppe,” he added.
Upi further advised young people to seriously investigate opening their own business, albeit small at the beginning. “Through discipline, self-drive, perseverance and hard work you will become successful,” he said adding that employers should be respectful towards others and themselves, patient and be good listeners.
“The future plans of Upi Kitchens is to continue to strive for excellence, focus on an increase in profits as well as to employ more people in order to decrease the unemployment rate in Namibia,” he said.