Founded by Linnea Shaetonhodi in Oranjemund some 30 years ago, Shaetonhodi Optometrists has taken great strides over that period to cement itself not only as a successful family-owned enterprise, but also one which is competitive in the local market.
Pandu Shaetonhodi, the General Manager of the Shaetonhodi Optometrists, tells Prime Focus that as the only qualified black optometrist in the country at the time, his mother, Linnea Shaetonhodi, toiled to get what is now a flourishing enterprise off the ground. According to him, this is only testament to the fact that where hard work is prevalent, prosperity does not stray too far behind.
“For a black-owned company to be in business in Namibia for 30 years shows that opportunities exist for all Namibians, and with the right strive, discipline and vision, all is possible,” he beamed.
“My mother (Linnea Shaetonhodi) has been my inspiration to being an entrepreneur, and truly serves as an inspiration to all”, he adds.
The growth of the company, which prides itself in being an elite eye-care provider to the local market, has seen it move from its base in Oranjemund to operating in four different regions in Namibia.
Despite this palpable growth, the company’s General Manager explains that it is yet to reach the peak of its professional aspirations.
“We would like to increase our reach in Namibia, and grow on our client database while delivering a great service since growth in business is never-ending,” he says.
“If you want success, you need to put a plan in place and start taking consistent action on a daily basis.
This has worked for us as a company, guided management in this regard to reach greater heights and helped us grow to be the best primary eye-care provider in Namibia”, he notes.
Sustained organisational growth is often difficult to attain without the necessary pieces which catalyse it.
These pieces in most enterprises come in the form of employees.
In recognition of the important role they play in the advancement of its expansion and growth, Shaetonhodi Optometrists provide on-the-job training to its 15 employees with the view of not only growing their enterprise, but also to equip these individuals with skills which could help sustain their livelihoods for a very long time.
“We provide on-the-job training, which is constantly ongoing. With the assistance of our partners in the industry, we are able to adequately train our staff to ensure they fulfil their potential in the workplace,” Shaetonhodi explains.
The in-field training is also complemented by a bursary scheme which the company offers to students looking to study Optometry, which is a field not offered by any of the local tertiary institutions or colleges.
The positive impact that the bursary scheme has had on the students who have benefitted from it is something that, according to Shaetonhodi, the company would like to enhance in equal proportion with its own growth.
The road to prosperity for most privately-owned organizations is often plagued by challenges and inhibitions.
This has not been any different for the eye-care specialists who, despite finding the market fairly welcoming to new entrants, have found waning interest in the field of study which has been the base of their operations and success.
“The market is receptive to professionals in the industry. When it comes to previously- disadvantaged Namibians, it is more a matter of educating the scholars and any person interested in doing Optometry, or taking up the opportunity of being an Optometrist,” Shaetonhodi concludes.