By: Rahmot Afolabi
Girlz,FTW has a community of over 2,000 girlz that represent 73 countries. These girlz are driven to build a better world, and we are constantly inspired by their stories. As we continue to learn more about them, we want to shine a community spotlight on these inspiring and trailblazing girlz.
Girlz,FTW Mentee: Namoonga Shikapande
Profession: Business Owner of Wakisa Eatery
An amazing and energetic lady, Namoonga runs Wakisa Eatery. A bistro service that caters to mines, hospitals, and schools in Zambia. Her vision is to grow it into a farm-to-table business and enter the aviation catering space in the future.
Keep reading to find out her advice on how to ignite your entrepreneurial journey.
What inspired you to start your own business?
There was a niche to provide mine catering services to contractors on the Copperbelt (Zambia). I saw this as an opportunity and seized the moment to start my catering service.
What is the most inspiring aspect about your work?
I love savoring a good meal and experimenting with different local ingredients, learning new techniques and trying new types of cuisines. So, getting to cook for people and seeing the enjoyment in their faces as they dig into one of our creations is truly inspiring.
How did your love of cooking transform into a business?
I am a home cook who has always experimented with different cuisines and loves the art of feeding people, hence starting out the “we feed people business”. We were lucky to get a mining client in our first people feeding project.
I have also taken courses in food safety because I have a tremendous interest in food security and I hope to have a social enterprise focused in this area in the future.
What energizes and motivates you to stay focused as business owner?
My motivation is the future of our Wakisa Eatery. We hope to expand to the airline catering industry and support commercial airlines. Every morning we get up and try to build a business that will stand the test of time. It’s very challenging during COVID-19, but hopefully, we will make it through.
What has been your biggest challenge/risk? And did it work out?
Our biggest challenge is something we are still working on. We need to diversify our client base since we are heavily dependent on the mining industry. It makes up 95% of our income which puts us in a very difficult situation, especially because it's been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
What has been the biggest investment in your business - and was it worth it?
My biggest investment has been time. The money was raised via bootstrapping, so that aspect didn’t take a heavy toll on me. Once I got the payments from the first three invoices, I reinvested it into the business. So, was my time worth it? I would say, YES! Building a business is so worth it and it fulfills me in life. The time invested in my business will always be worth it (regardless of the outcome).
Who was an early mentor for you in your entrepreneurial journey?
I went through an innovation hub when I was building my first business. From that experience, I was able to interact and learn from a wide range of business leaders.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start her own creative business?
Just start! Figure things as you go, ask for help when you are stuck, and always listen to your customers. The important thing is to actually start and not spend too much time preparing because you could end up pushing your start day back and never take off. Just start and figure things out while you work.
To learn more about Namoonga and her business; you can follow her on social media:
Facebook: Namoonga Shikapande,
Instagram: @kingnamoonga, @theBistroChef