Coming from a previously disadvantaged background did not stop Abisai Nambahu and Ashipala Uushona from establishing a multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm, Dunamis Consulting Engineers and Project Managers, in 2013.
Nambahu and Uushona both Civil Engineers, decided to form their consulting firm after realising the need for more Namibian-owned companies to participate in public and private infrastructure development projects.
Uushona says their company is a truly Namibian brand, managed by young Namibians, who strive to be dynamic, innovative and creative in their business approach while extending their offerings by adopting strategies that enable them to deliver quality service.
Through this focused approach they have been able to meet their clients’ needs and demands at any given time.
Although the company has not landed any major projects to date, the owners say it is only a matter of time since they have been able to build capacity over the years.
“We offer engineering services, which include design plans, contract administration, project management, supervision of civil, building, electrical and mechanical projects both in the public and private sector within Namibia,” Uushona says.
“The idea was born during the final year of our studies at the then Polytechnic of Namibia, where we were engineering students after exposure to the consulting engineering fraternity through the in-service training programme offered to students.
“We realised the need for more Namibian owned companies to rise up and participate in public and private infrastructure development projects for the purpose of localising engineering skills, capacity building and creating homemade brands in the engineering fraternity, which is mostly dominated by foreign-owned companies with limited participation of Namibian engineers. Since then we have been working tirelessly towards the goal to start up this company.”
Uushona paid tribute to the several hands that helped their company to reach where it is now, but was quick to add that more work still needs to be done to build and take the company further, such as diversifying their client base, instead of relying on Government contracts.
As a young company, Dunamis Consulting Engineers and Project Managers has not been able to fully penetrate the market which is still dominated by well-established foreign-owned companies.
Capital to grow the business is also another challenge. The young entrepreneurs say that in the absence of any funding, they had to use their own savings and income generated from other business activities not related to engineering to start their company.
“We are young and dynamic so we tend not to confine ourselves to one way of doing things. With this dynamic spirit, we offer competitive prices and deals depending on the project at hand, to the benefit of our clients. “We have grown from only three [employees] when we started to 14 permanent employees, ranging from engineers, technicians, and finance and administration officers.
“Our operations are available throughout Namibia, especially in the Zambezi, Kavango, Oshana, Erongo, Kunene and Omaheke regions, with our biggest operation in the Hardap region. We have a satellite office in Mariental in the Hardap region, which we are in the process of turning into a fully-fledged office,” Uushona says.
Just like any other company in the construction sector, Dunamis has not been spared from the effects of Government budget cuts, which have resulted in most companies facing shut-downs, especially those without access to a wide range of private sector clients.
Uushona is of the opinion that the private sector, particularly the well-established organisations with access to lucrative markets abroad and generating foreign currency, must meet Government halfway by adopting procurement practices that allow local companies to have a fair share in order to bring forth diversification, growth and sustainability, consequently reducing dependency on Government.
On the issue of whether Dunamis Consulting has any contingency plans to cushion itself from the effects of Government budget cuts, Uushona says, “Our investment company is a diversified company with interests in various sectors, including engineering, properties, transportation, medical and food production. So, we do have contingency measures in place as far as our strength allows us.
“However, most local companies, particularly those owned by previously disadvantaged individuals, face the same challenge of accessing commercially viable markets in the private sector, be it locally or abroad.”
On their future plans, Uushona says they envisage their company to be a global competitor setting new engineering standards for the Namibian market that offer advanced service delivery and modern products.
He, however, says they were still far from realising that dream as they still need more experience.