Amon Namwandi of Mannax Printing and Design

By Sibangani Dube
March 2012
Prime Business
Amon Namwandi, 27, runs his own fledged and vibrant printing business dubbed Mannax Printing and Design.

Driven by passion and dedication, he started this business from scratch from his then house in Khomasdal and he has never looked back since.

Despite his age, he conducts and carries himself as if he has lived three lifetimes already. The soft-spoken man oozes with the confidence and gusto that would leave Harvard business graduates green with envy. His success remains a mystery amongst his peers who can stomach his success with only a Grade-12 certificate in his name.

With the trappings of being born to parents who are both teachers, he started off in a remote village in Oikango Village but that did not blare his dream, vision and appetite to become a successful businessman.

Today, Amon sits in his own cozy office and admits he knew from the word go, he was not good friends with books. But one thing is for sure, he always dreamt of owning a business.

Business ran in deep in his veins at the tender age of seven when his entrepreneurial spirit started playing a part in his life. He started off small by rearing and selling doves, selling dog meat, to running a newspaper at a school; all these turned out to be very successful ventures.

His first venture was financed by his late father and turned out to be a hit in the village until all his doves were stolen. This was the first encounter of the rough edges of business deals. Later, his school newspaper venture came to an abrupt end when a trusted friend and business partner wrote him off the business. This happened when he helped himself from the business proceedings while he was on leave, mourning his late father.

Today, Amon is a proud owner of a debt-free blossoming printing and design company and he is not looking back; if anything, he is gunning for the stars. His eyes are so far set on venturing into food franchises to help grow his business empire as a way of diversifying his business portfolio.

“I saw a niche market in the printing and designing industry after realising that there were very few, if none black people, in this type of business,” says Amon.

“I realised that most of the work is done by the black people; the bosses are just there to give guidance and I thought of taking the bull by its horns and here I am,” he quips.

Getting started was met with getting some good orders, which acted as a much needed confidence booster, with some good deposits, which would pave way for greater times ahead.

To ensure a great take-off, he aggressively marketed his company and products, until recently when he took up the position of sales and marketing and ran with the ball. This has enabled him to generate huge business volumes, which keeps him busy all the time.

Quality and timely delivery matter a lot to Amon as he does not believe in second chances. This approach has enabled him to get both new and repeated business deals. He emphasises the fact that it is important to build sound relationships with clients as well as to communicate with them when running behind schedule.

It has become a cliché but Amon notes that accessing funds, especially when one gets a big job, is a major challenge in the business, especially during the initial phase. In addition, earning the clients’ trust that you are capable of doing a fine job is an asset.

While his business and the quality of his work are well accepted, he has learnt that the strongest opposition comes from fellow black business people.

“The perception, especially from our black counterparts that because you are black, you are incompetent, is a serious drawback,” he points out.

As far as this business is concerned, the buck stops with him as the founder and architecture of this company. It is interesting that Amon does not owe a bank or any financial institution a cent; he is a living example of a local debt-free company owner. Of course he if full of praise for his employees who selflessly and with unwavering support, are dedicated to the cause of the company.

“Every single member is treated as part of ship,” he beams, adding that he does not like to be called ‘the boss’. His unique selfless approach makes his company a place worth working for.

Amon strongly believes that anyone should have a vibrant dream and a strong and focused vision.

“One should visualise what it is like to own a business and really try to live that dream,” he expresses.

At the moment, his business does not have a system in place to take care of its corporate social responsibility. However, this does not mean he does not support a soccer team in Katutura. In fact, his company also supports a soup kitchen in Katutura by availing food donations whenever needed. He strongly believes in putting his family first as his dependent employees come second. For every single professional decision he makes, he puts their interests above his own all the time. PF