As much as education has been and will always be the key to success, Shiyekeleni Shiyekeleni, a grade nine school report holder, has proven that academic success is not the only way to in life. Determination has made this dreamer a force to be reckoned with in the business world.
It is all about aiming high and never giving up on what one wants to achieve. Shiyekeleni has proven that even without tertiary education one can still make it in the business world like some well-known business degree holder.
Shiyelekeni, the owner of Linyenga Welding Trailers, struggled to raise capital let alone get help from banks because of his level of literacy. He also did not have collateral.
“I tried many places like the banks, I tried DBN but they were asking me for collateral and school certificates and I did not have that at that time,” he says.
He had to write a business plan but still, qualifications were wanted. “I did my primary and secondary education in Okakarara and I ended in grade nine, and then I went to Windhoek to look for a job and got one at Trade Master. I got that idea of making trailers and experience from there,” he says.
They say practise makes perfect, but i beg to differ and say practise makes permanent. After he was turned down he never gave up on his dream of starting a welding empire. Shiyekeleni used his knowledge and expertise of making trailers to start the business.
The grade nine school report holder who started his company with only three employees in Ongwediva is now feeding at least 14 families and says he will employ more as the business grows.
“I started my company in 2009, and in 2010 I registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, I only started with three employees but now they are 14,” he says.
Shiyelekeni struggled to get his business on its feet as he only made one trailer per day. The Ministry of Trade and Industry then provided machinery for the company, and he is now proud to say he can make four to five trailers monthly depending on the demand.
However, he now faces a challenge of connecting electricity to his workshop for an office. He also adds that he does business with a customer from Angolan clients but sometimes loses out because the customer has to get the trailers from Windhoek when Shiyelekeni does not have the needed materials on time.
“I also supply many businesses all over Namibia, and right now I am the one who supplies Telecom with trailers, he says. He also adds that, “It is possible to serve a particular need of each customer. All you need to do is to bring us your design and size of your trailer and we will build it according to your request. We guarantee your satisfaction with our products and services.”
The confident business man says he is not concerned with competition because he believes in quality work. “There is only one man who makes the same trailers as I do but I am not intimidated by that because for me it is all about quality, people say there is a difference between the two,” he explains.
Linyamga Welding Trailers does not produce trailers but has other goods in stock like brick machines, cattle basins, security doors, trellis and grill bars.
Shiyelekeni adds that he is proud to offer job attachments to people who need experience in welding, thus they take students from different schools and show them how the job is done. “We also take people from the streets who want to come and help and get paid for it just so we can give back to the community and help in Namibia’s economic growth.”
He also adds that building such a business in Ongwediva has helped the community with convenient proximity as people do not have to go as far as Windhoek to buy trailers.
Shiyelekeni advises other upcoming businessmen and women that they should not give up on education, no matter how challenging it may be. All they need to do is discover their talents and work hard on making them big.