Meet business-minded Ester

At the head of a growing business, Ester Hamukoto sat down with The Zone to speak about her journey as a business advisor and the importance of the youth becoming involved with entrepreneurship.

13 February 2018 | Education

n 2016 from Namibia Business Hall of Fame and has continued to push personla and professional boundaries since then. “The award is one of the most prestigious awards I have received so far during my career,” she says.

Currently pursuing her studies in Accounting at the University of Namibia, she also graduated with a degree in Business Administration, specialising in strategic marketing with the University of Namibia.

“I started Esh-Ham Business Consultants six years ago and it has grown every year. Our services are aimed at both existing and start-up entrepreneurs whereby we offer entrepreneurs business advice and accounting services.”

She was exposed to the spirit of entrepreneurship and invention from a young age as she grew up with her grandmother who was an entrepreneur herself.

“My grandmother owns Sam Nujoma Kindergarden which has been in existence for more than 15 years. My mother sold basic goods to villagers too and while on holiday I would assist her and that grew my passion for owning my own business. I consider both my grandmother and mother as entrepreneurs in their own right,” she says

Female empowerment and challenging gender norms are very important to her. “While in high school, I was introduced to the Junior Achievement Programme which I joined and eventually my entrepreneurship skills were developed. I am a firm believer in female empowerment and as a young woman; it is our responsibility to take up positions that were stereotyped to be traditionally only reserved for men,” she says.

Hamukoto has been the proud owner of Esh-Ham Business Consultants for more than 6 years. “I decided to take up the role of an advisor as my clients have turned to me for business advice and mentoring in the past. As the demand grew, I decided to take it up as a full-time job,” she explains.

“Young and new entrepreneurs are often in a vulnerable stage of their business, especially when they do not have anyone to turn to for a second opinion when pursuing their dreams. The second group of people we focus on are companies that have to make their sales and marketing teams more effective. This includes companies who are receiving a lot of poor customer service complaints and need to upgrade their customer service experience.”

So what is the importance of the youth being involved in entrepreneurship? As a young entrepreneur herself, she believes that there are ample opportunities in our county for young people to become self-employed and create job opportunities in the fields that they are working in.

“The tendency of waiting for the government to create jobs is something we all have to let go of and start paving ways for ourselves and grab opportunities as they present themselves. Most importantly as young people, it is our responsibility to work towards economic growth. Globalization has made things easy for entrepreneurs to trade with the rest of the world,” she explains.

Growing and establishing a healthy Namibian economy that is less reliant in imports is also something she is passionate about. According to her, “young people are the backbone of our economy should work hard to assist Namibia in becoming self-sustainable as there are many sectors that are untapped and waiting for young entrepreneurs to take initiative.”

The challenges she has experienced along the way are similar to that of every young entrepreneur that include a lack of mentorship and capital, objection from clients when starting due to the brand not being known and getting the right team on board.

According to her, the highlights outweigh the challenges. “When you are self-employed and you have 100% ownership in the business, you have full control on the decision making. My biggest highlight is to create employment for others and transfer my skills and knowledge to my employees as well as my clients.”

Hamukoto’s advice to young aspiring entrepreneurs is to face their fears and take the risk to start their own businesses while they are still young. “I know that many young people are scared to try because they are afraid to fail and to be criticized. In order to be successful one has to do what they do even during the days that they do not feel like is, as the saying goes ‘feelings do not pay bills’”.

Fast Facts on Ester:

· What are you reading at the moment? Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini. This book has taught me how to effectively negotiate with customers and investor, I am half way but have learned a lot so far.

· What song do you have on repeat? I have been listening to an old school jam that I fel in love with. It is Trust by Keyshia Cole.

· Where is your favourite holiday destination in Namibia? Sossusvlei or the Ngepi Camp Lodge situated on the banks of the Okavango River.

· Do you prefer Summer or Winter? I prefer summer because I can dress up and feel feminine.

· Tell us about the a Namibian you look up to: Martha Namundjebo. She is a phenomenal woman and I am inspired by her dedication and hard work.

· What is the one motto you live by? Pushing myself to achieve my goals and not letting other people’s opinion define who I am. I also feed myself with positive thoughts everyday as that is how I overcome challenges that I face both in my personal and professional life.

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