Young entrepreneur learns to navigate through the ‘new normal’ – Olafika virtual entrepreneurship development course assists immensely
Tweny-one year old, Rakkel Mwandi cheated poverty by opening her own business ‘RS Leather Creation’ back in 2016 and before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Rakkel was attracting hordes of clientele within the tourism sector, making between N$40,000 and N$60,000 every month from leather products such as handbags, wallets and bracelets.
Rakkel said she had signed mega deals with local hotels and everything was going according to plan by the end of 2018.
“My business was self sustaining and I was producing for my own local community, hotels and tour companies would bring in their tourists, but, of course it was seasonal and there were dry periods but we would always survive,” she added.
Rakkel confirmed that since the lockdown started her world crushed, with no income for more than six months, no more bulk supplies, hotels have closed down and the buying power in the once vibrant resort town of Swakopmund had depreciated.
“Today N$2000, per month is a great achievement, which underlines that everyone across the globe has experienced the effects of this devastating pandemic, which creates immense challenges for businesses and government to find solutions,” she emphasised.
She said fortunately she joined Olafika during the time of lockdown Stage 1 and even though she did not know what she was looking for, she wanted something to pass time, since she was locked in her house.
“Strangely, through the course’s virtual lectures and mentorship framework, I have come to appreciate and understand how I should navigate this new normal for my business and I can actually now know how to manage and balance the N$2000 that I am getting,” she informed.
According to Rakkel the course has been of immense help to her sanity in business and is teaching her how to hold on, how to grow out of the pandemic.
“It is now a matter of when everything returns to normal, not how much, because the strategy for survival is now in place and I am upscaling from production to the establishment of a leather academy, which is something I should have developed a long time ageing,” she explained.
She said if it was not for Olafika, should would have gone to stay at the village and wait for whatever comes, but she now knows how to calculate her monthly income statements.
“I can complete an entire balance sheet, something I never did my entire life and I only used to run business by writing in a simple book, which has now grown into an academy. I am just waiting for the storm to be over, to open my leather production academy in Namibian,” she said.
Olafika is currently offering Namibia’s only virtual entrepreneurship development course online to 150 Namibian SMEs who will then be mentored by seasoned established entrepreneurs from their regions for a period of six months.