Zambian-born former banker, author and entrepreneur Edwin Ngane has created a platform that gives market access to consultants, freelancers, unemployed graduates, semi-skilled and skilled individuals. After spending 10 years in the banking sector, holding various positions, Ngane took the difficult and often uncertain path of entrepreneurship. One decision, he says, was prompted by a sense of stagnation in his dream career.
Edwin Ngune, founder of Kawiwi.com
About his latest project, we found an online platform called Kawiwi.com
Can you tell us a little about Kawi?
Kawiwi is an online marketplace for freelancers, consultants and service providers. It is a platform where people can find qualified and verified consultants and service providers.
When, how and why did you start?
Kawiwi was built in 2020 after seeing the challenges that consultants, freelancers and service providers face in getting paid clients. We also understand that many clients are struggling to find trusted and proven advisors and service providers. So we started creating a platform for solutions for clients and consultants. And that’s how we started the project and later in 2020 in demo mode.
What is the main function of Kawi?
The main function of the platform is a platform where customers can easily hire trusted and verified consultants and service providers. The platform gives advisors access to a global clientele.
What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced since starting out?
The challenges we faced in the beginning was accepting the platform. However, more people are starting to accept the platform and we are seeing more consultants and clients signing up every day.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
An aspiring entrepreneur should understand that building a startup is not easy, but it is an endeavor worth pursuing. Once you start the entrepreneurship journey, you will find challenges along the way, but once it works, you will enjoy the rewards.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
The biggest success for me is the number of people I meet being in business. Entrepreneurship has opened so many doors for me that I have met and held meetings with the great and powerful.
What does the future of entrepreneurship look like?
The future looks very bright. Kawi is still in its infancy, but its growth is very exciting. With hard work and dedication, we believe we will soon become a household name in the business services space.
What would you like to see change in the African startup landscape?
I believe the African startup scene is moving in the right direction, but we need more faith.
I know many entrepreneurs who have given up because they don’t have enough faith in their work and what they intend to do.
And since entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, self-belief will help you along the way when you face challenges. So I encourage any African entrepreneur to believe in himself until his business works.
What do you believe an entrepreneur needs to be successful?
Hard work will always be key to the success of any business, but it must be coupled with focus, determination, persistence, creativity and people skills. These qualities have helped me along the way and I think they can help anyone who wants to be successful in their entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur, as well as some major highlights.
The biggest challenge in my entrepreneurial journey has been finance. Almost every project I’ve worked on has been self-funded. And this is not easy.
We don’t have many banks or financiers for startups in Africa and this can be a challenge for most budding entrepreneurs.
I remember that I got a personal loan of about 25,000 dollars from the bank for personal use and started to use the money to build Kawi. And this put a financial strain on my life, but I didn’t care until I paid off the loan and I think it was worth it.
Why would you encourage someone to become an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a reliable way to build wealth. I know one can build a steady income with a job, but if you want to build wealth that will last a lifetime, entrepreneurship is the way to go.
And another reason to be an entrepreneur is the control you have over your life. I can’t count the number of times I missed radio and TV interviews when I was an employee because the company I was working for couldn’t make the time to do those interviews. And not because they are a bad company, but because I have to serve their customers and I was responsible enough to understand that I can’t leave my job for my personal issues.
However, after I left my job, I was able to travel in a short time and do many interviews in a short time. This has helped the development of my Kawi and writing career.
Where do you want to see Kawi in the next 5 years?
Kawi is the next big thing. I believe the future is not permanent jobs, but consulting and short-term gigs. So Kawi will become an African giant and give opportunities to the civilized. Advisors and service providers can access paid clients through the platform, and clients can access verified and trusted advisors and service providers.
We believe that Kawiwi will change the narrative about what work is by giving an alternative to work. Many young Africans use Kawi to offer their knowledge and services and create employment opportunities for many young people.