WINDHOEK, Sept. 7 – Forty-six year old Windhoek born entrepreneur Christophore McClune always had a dream of owning his own transport company.
Today he is living his dream. McClune is the sole owner of well-known Walvis Bay based transport company McClunes’s Shuttle Services. The company has sixteen full-time employees. It operates seven days a week transporting commuters between Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. McClune’s Shuttle Services has a fleet of 12 branded vehicles.
The company started its operations ten years ago and has grown to be one of the most reputable, safe, reliable and economical means of passenger transport offering. “It was a long and rough road but my passion for transport helped me start it off,” said McClune.
“I saw this as an opportunity to provide work for my family and other Namibian citizens. I am determined to make it a success,” said McClune.
Twenty-two years ago Mclune joined the taxi business as a taxi driver in Windhoek. On weekends, he would transport commuters to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay in the same sedan he used as a taxi in Windhoek.
Gaining while on the job, Mclune managed to save most of the proceeds he made. In 2007, he officially registered McClune`s Taxi Services,. “This is how the infant idea of how McClune`s Windhoek /Walvis Bay Shuttle Service was born,” he said.
McClune wanted his customers to be comfortable whenever they used his company’s service. With this in mind he planned on buying his first 16 seater bus. He sought financial assistance but was denied most of the time. In 2009 he approached Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (ESME) Finance branch and his application was approved. “It was very difficult to get financing. I first applied at other financial institutions including my own and they all refused to help me. But Bank Windhoek assisted me, I am thankful,” he said.
Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance branch partners with Namibian entrepreneurs who positively contribute to Namibia’s economy. The branch offers a comprehensive range of products tailored to entrepreneurs individual business needs and also provides financing and mentorship services to small and medium enterprises.
“SMEs employ one in five people in Namibia and play a vital role not only in the economy, but also in raising the standard of living for Namibians and alleviating poverty. McClune’s Shuttle Services fits this criteria,” said Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance branch manager, Mbo Luvindao.
It’s about family…
Born in Khomasdal as the eldest of five children, McClune had to immediately start working after he completed his secondary education at David Bezuidenhoudt High School 27 years ago. He started working as a cashier at a local retail shop. With this job he supported his siblings whenever he could.
Although he is the sole owner, McClune said that his business involves his family. His wife, three brothers and his mother all contribute to the daily operations of McClune’s Shuttle Services. It is registered as a Close Corporation.
McClune’s Shuttle Services was one of the first shuttles that targeted the local market. Initially commuters did not understand its business model. “We had difficulty explaining to the customers that this is a service for the locals as well,” said McClune.
McClune said that he noticed that at that time his competitors only provided services to the affluent market and tourists. He then identified a need in this area and decided to offer such services to the local market.
Although current business is slow due to the challenging economic climate, McClune is satisfied and said that his business has been growing tremendously and aims it to be self-sustainable.
He advised other aspiring entrepreneurs, young and old to be sure of what they want to do right from the start. “Have passion for what you do, because it will keep you going forward in the most difficult times. Be honest with your employees, yourself and your family, as they are the ones who are going to support you in your quest to make a success of your business,” he said.
McClune concluded that with Bank Windhoek’s ESME Finance branch financial and mentoring support, he is confident that the future of his business is stable and looks promising. His optimism about the future is evident as he is planning to introduce new routes in the near future. – NDN Staffer