Bamai Namata is a 26-year-old Cameroonian and founder of Maibeta. He noticed a problem anyone living on the continent has experienced in some capacity – the difficulty in finding trained technicians available at your hour of need.
In response, he developed Maibeta.com, a digital on-demand service platform connecting people to professional technicians for repairs, maintenance and construction jobs. The platform truly takes away some of the heavy lifting associated with living on the continent by vetting and securing for you trusted help when you most need it most.
Namata says he’s on an ambitious mission to employ 500,000 Africans through Maibeta. We caught up with him to learn more about his journey and inspiration.
What’s your personal story? What has your journey been like?
I am Bamai Namata the founder of Maibeta Inc. and a Mass Communication graduate. I grew up loving technology and thinking of new ways to do things. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. Well, my story is a really the typical one; like a lot of young people out there, I was raised in a not so financially comfortable home where our main family activity was petty trading.
As a little boy, I remember carrying heavy bags of foodstuff to the market where we had our stall, and throughout the years, the experiences I gathered from assisting my family in trading helped to develop an acute love for business and wonderful trading skills which have helped me a lot in my entrepreneurial endeavours.
The path of my journey has been rocky especially because only a handful of people understand or share in our vision as entrepreneurs. And even fewer can fully understand the sacrifices we as entrepreneurs make to ensure that we thrive at what we do. I have had several ups and downs but I keep pushing from different directions to achieve my goals each day.
I have had some success so far: I have been fortunate to receive many accolades which have greatly helped me on my journey. They are the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship programme, Forbes Under 30, Avance Media Influential Cameroonians in Business and Cameroon News Agency’s Entrepreneurs to Watch.
What inspired you to start Maibeta?
This may sound ironic, but the Maibeta idea was conceived after a horrible experience. It happened that I had a leaking sink in my apartment and I went through a whole lot of trouble to get a plumber to repair it. Even after the sink was repaired, it still had a leak. Then I thought, ‘why should people have to go through the same headache I went through to get an unqualified plumber when I can create a platform to help people easily connect with any skilled handyman of their choice?’’ Moreover, my greatest ambition has always been to start a business which can sustain me and simultaneously add value to other peoples lives. This is why we started to develop the idea into what Maibeta Inc. is today.
How have you stayed afloat and successful in business these last 3 years? Entrepreneurship, especially starting a business in Africa, isn’t easy.
Starting a business is the easy part but staying afloat takes commitment, persistence and above all else focus on the business. As a leader, I believe in dreaming big and also setting big goals and this keeps me working hard to catch up because the world is in constant motion and a real entrepreneur has to keep himself abreast of all the on going innovations. If not, you might wake up some day and realise that you have been left far behind. We try as much as possible to be consistent in executing every activity at Maibeta. And I sincerely think that it has kept us afloat. I also strongly believe that if you have a positive mindset towards any venture you undertake, chances are that you’ll succeed. And even if you don’t at the moment, you can always use the lessons you learned from your past failures to create future success.
What advice do you have for people looking to build a business in Cameroon/Africa?
Ok, the first advice I’d like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs is this: do not be scared to dream big. Africa is blessed in terms of business ideas and opportunities because very many areas are still untouched. You might even find yourself being the only person doing what you do. Do not be scared to dream big because the bigger the dream, the harder you will have to work to achieve it. If you start up with a small dream, you might easily get lazy with time.
The second is: expect to fail…failure is one-word business people hate to hear. It’s true that nobody prepares for failure but it still remains an obvious possibility which should be envisaged. Failing once never means you should quit; rather, it’s an opportunity to regroup and prepare for the next bout which will lead you to even greater success.
Hear Bamai Namata speak about Maibeta below: