Introducing a visionary leader: Redefining entrepreneurship in Namibia

A testament to the power of perseverance
A dynamic businesswoman, Ester Hamukoto has changed the face of entrepreneurship in Namibia.
Nankali Kamwanga
Businesswoman Ester Hamukoto's rise from modest beginnings to becoming the founder and CEO of Esh-Ham Cash Loan and Esh-Ham Business Consultants has been nothing less than amazing. Born in the northern region of Namibia and raised by her grandmother in Katutura, 34-year-old Hamukoto said: "I learnt the value of resilience and hard work at a young age”.
She attended Martti Ahtisaari Primary School and Ella Du Plessis High School, where she discovered her passion for entrepreneurship through the junior achievement programme. She won top finance manager in 2006 through the high school competition. This ignited a fire within her, leading her to pursue an honours degree in marketing and a master's degree in business administration at the University of Namibia.
Hamukoto embarked on her professional journey by working full-time in a consulting business, where she honed her skills in financial and business management. “My entrepreneurial spirit was too strong to be contained,” she said, and in 2011, she founded Esh-Ham Business Consultants.
What started as a dream soon became a reality, as she navigated the complexities of starting and running a business, learning valuable lessons along the way.

Hard decisions
In 2021, Hamukoto expanded her entrepreneurial ventures by launching Esh-Ham Cash Loan, catering to the growing demand for short-term loans in Namibia. She employs five people who work for both the cash loan and consultancy businesses.
Her company also offers internship opportunities to students in the business field when opportunity arises.
Esh-Ham Business Consultants assists small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with business registrations and updating of company legal documents. It also specialises in secretarial services.
Some of the challenges Hamukoto has faced as a CEO are making strategic decisions alone, as it becomes a challenge when she has no one to air views with before implementing them, she said.
“My recent challenge was having to lay off employees because one of the Esh-Ham Cash Loan branches was scheduled for closure in December last year and I needed to lay off employees."
Breaking the news to employees that they are facing unemployment in few months is one of the hard decisions she has to make on her own as a CEO, she explained. “To save the business, I needed to make such bold decisions."
Despite facing challenges such as rapid changes in regulatory requirements, market saturation and ensuring a constant cash flow, she and her team have remained steadfast in their commitment to excellence.
“One of the key factors behind my success is my unwavering dedication to my clients,” Hamukoto said. Her focus on customer service and building long-term relationships has set her apart in a highly competitive market.

Outside of her professional life, Hamukoto is a devoted mother who cherishes spending time with her daughter. “I enjoy being home and taking care of my daughter. She’s everything to me and since I spend most of my time at the office, I ensure that the little time I have off I spend with her."
She also finds peace in reading and enjoys the occasional vacation, rejuvenating her spirit for the challenges that lie ahead. She also shows support to various charity activities, such as event sponsorship and donations to nearby schools. Last year, her company was one of the sponsors of a men's conference initiative by DJ Munene, which created awareness on men's mental wellness.
In addition, the company has donated school uniforms and stationery to Ella Du Plessis and CJ Brand high schools, and also organised a soup kitchen in Katutura, giving out soup to the community members.
These activities demonstrate her belief in giving back. “I love giving. I believe in the saying 'the more you give, the more the universe rewards you',” she said.
As Hamukoto looks to the future, she envisions leveraging technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to further enhance the services offered by her businesses.
“I believe it is not negotiable but it’s a key requirement to ensure that, as technology changes, so does our business." She added that she believes in the power of innovation and adaptation, ensuring that Esh-Ham Business Consultants and Esh-Ham Cash Loan remain at the forefront of the industry.