Not many people leave their daytime jobs to pursue careers in business, especially when one works for a company like Old Mutual Namibia (OMN), unless you are Brigita Kanyetu.
Kanyetu quit being a sales agent at OMN, to pursue her business career by acquiring Lee Ann Corner Trading Enterprise in 2010. Lee Ann is a close corporation (cc) that manufactures dishwashing liquid and powder soaps, all-purpose cleaners, floor strippers, tile brighteners, engine cleaners, foam baths, among others.
“I first worked as a sales agent for Old Mutual Namibia where I was required to go out to the field to solicit policy clients, amongst other things, which I didn’t like. I was later appointed as an acting manager in the same department but I was still unsatisfied that it was not a permanent position. So I left,” she says.
After quitting her daily job, Kanyetu started a hotel business in Windhoek’s Khomasdal but did not have the passion for it, so she acquired her current business from a friend for N$40 000.
The 50-year-old Swakopmund-born says today, she does what she loves and makes better returns than she earned at her former job.
“My customers are mainly in the Katutura community, local guest houses, as well as Government. Whenever I do business with Government, I can get up to N$200 000 a month. I promised to buy myself a car only if I can pay it off, which took me 12 months, thanks to my business”.
Presently, Kanyetu has three permanent employees but also recruits about 10 employees whenever the workload becomes heavy.
With only a Grade 10 certificate to her name, she credits international showcasing events as the reason why she thrives in her business. She has since attended the Southern African International Trade (Saite) Fair in Johannesburg, the International Agriculture and Commercial Show in Zambia, as well as a showcasing in Dubai.
“I have learnt a lot from networking with people from different countries, because we always exchange ideas. Today, I am willing to help my fellow countrywomen to get past the doors in the manufacturing business”.
Kanyetu’s gamble to trade her daytime job for a business career is winning but then again, as with other businesses, she still needs more to finally lose the ‘upcoming businesswoman’ tag, which is associated with her line of work for lack of funding to invest in adequate machinery.
“I need two machines, one for making liquids and another for making powder. At the moment, we conduct the process manually, which is not healthy for us, because of the dust that emanates in the process. I appeal to Government to provide us with the required machines, because then, we could in turn provide for the whole country and stop importing such items from other countries,” she submits.