99FM – Your Inspiration Station

A Helping Hand and a Comfortable Shoe

“Hard work pays off, so never give up on your dreams”

One Namibian entrepreneur is forging forward with handmade footwear after receiving support and assistance for his business idea from the Intensive Product Development (IPD) Programme. The IPD Programme is an intensive product development course for local entrepreneurs supported by local Government and run through FABlab Namibia. FABlab, being the first advanced manufacturing, prototyping and design lab in Namibia that was opened in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to enhance local product competitiveness and bridge the technological divide.

Operi Tjiteere is the man behind Operi Handmade, who received entrepreneurial development training from the IPD Programme. He now runs his operation from Okahandja in central Namibia making shoes, sandal, belts and more as well as repairing leather products.

Like many young entrepreneurs, guidance in all the areas of business has set his business apart and helped him move from the position of full time employee to full time business owner. Operi notes that when he started he was “working full time and repairing shoes on the weekend”. He said he noticed a business opportunity in the “manufacturing of leather goods here that could be sold to both the local and the tourist market.”

operi-logoTo take his business idea further he attended shoe manufacturing training and enlisted the help of the entrepreneur incubators, FABlab Namibia.

For this young shoe maker, the design is the key factor in the right shoe, “The design is what makes the shoe perfect. Without the perfect design to begin with you will not have the perfect shoe” Says Operi.

Operi says he plans on increasing his production and in the future he would like to pay his learning forward as he explains, “I want to be able to grow this business to provide more job opportunities especially for the youth of Namibia”.

When asked what his biggest learning has been as an entrepreneur, Operi advises that “hard work pays off, so never give up on your dreams”. Operi notes this is what he has learnt and what he would advise other entrepreneurs.

Promoting his beautifully hand crafted products, Operi says that the right shoe that is comfortable and made with quality will give a person peace of mind as their feet have peace in their expression.

You can get hold of Operi Tjiteere by emailing him at operitjiteere@gmail.com