Dream big, but start small

27 February 2019 | Education

Mechanic Jesaya Kamanya (27) advises unemployed vocational training centre graduates to start their own businesses instead of staying home, doing nothing.

Kamanya says many of the graduates were given toolboxes upon completing their training and they should use them as start-up kits.

In 2016, after completing his auto-mechanic course at the Valombola Vocational Training Centre (VVTC), Kamanya established his own garage at Adolfi location along the Ondangwa-Ongwediva main road in the Oshana Region.

He repairs diesel and petrol vehicles alike and even does auto-electrical repairs.

He now employs an assistant and an office administrator, and has offered job attachments to two VVTC students.

He says starting small is easy and does not require a lot of start-up capital.

“The beginning is not always easy because people do not know you yet. You need to start where you are and with what you have. You can start operating from your house; you have the toolbox you were given after completing and the skills you acquired during your studies and the knowledge you acquired from your job attachment,” Kamanya says.

“I know some people have big dreams, but you cannot live your dream right from the beginning. You need to start small and use what you have. When you generate some money you can start building your dream. When you start making money, use it to buy the equipment you need to get where you want to be.”

As student, Kamanya did his job attachment at the Erongo Commercial Vehicle Garage at Opoto location near Ongwediva.

After graduation, he started working for a Zimbabwean mechanic who used to repair cars under a tree.

“I decided to work for the Zimbabwean man in order to learn the business the hard way. He has many customers but his garage is not well established.

“At VVTC I only learned mechanical repairs, but from him I learned electrical repairs too. He is quite experienced in auto-electrics and he has many customers.”

While working for this man, Kamanya started buying his own tools and equipment and developed good relationships with customers.

In 2017 he decided to start working for himself but could not afford to rent a workshop.

“I decided to start the garage at my homestead at Olulongo village. It was challenging at first because the village is remote and few people go there.

“My former employer referred some of his customers to me and after I did a good job repairing their vehicles they started referring new customers to me,” he said.

As the business grew, Kamanya employed an assistant, but the remote location remained a problem. It was a long way from Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati, where most of his customers lived and where he had to buy parts.

“I started saving money and eventually found a place to rent at Adolfi location.

“Here things are way better. We can help up to ten customers a day, depending on what we need to do. The place is strategically located because it is next to the main road and nearly every day we attract a new customer,” he says.



ILENI NANDJATO

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