Spot a gap and create a solution
Leo Canopus was among the seven startups selected in early March, for an initiative by the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) titled the NBII Acceleration Programme 2021. The programme was open to students, staff and alumni and offered participants workshops in idea creation, market research, business model development and business simulation.
Nerro Nendongo, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Leo Canopus, saw a gap in the market to provide end-to-end ICT solutions and focused strategic consulting services to other businesses.
Born and bred in the northern town of Ongwediva, Nerro is currently studying for a Bachelor’ s degree in Business and Information Administration at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). In 2016, after attaining his Cisco CCNA qualification In Routing and Switching, he started operations at the Zoo Park by providing internet access to the public during lunch hours using his smartphone as internet exchange point.
Leo Canopus has been at the forefront of digitalising communities within Namibia. They have already implemented public internet access in Windhoek, Otavi and Okahandja. Leo Canopus is also the managing partner for the Keetmanshoop Smart + Connected community project. The main aim of the project is to digitalise the town and give local citizens access to information which will help with economic development.
The startup has plans to expand operations in order to enable communities to solve their most critical challenges such as parking, traffic management, lighting, water and waste management on a shared and intelligent network infrastructure and simultaneously provide citizens with internet connectivity and access to a broad range of smart urban services.
The young entrepreneur runs the startup with two other partners, Benhard Hamata and Malakia Kapembe. Nerro credits his team for much of the traction received.
“Two heads are better than one, but three are greater than two”, he stated. Having the right team has contributed to the startups’ rapid growth so far, with the right team your moves are faster, service delivery is on time and market research comes with different points of view and access to a larger network” he admitted. “NBII has helped us grow our business model, reputation and gave us access to markets that would have taken us years to achieve. NBII has provided us with the platform to get advice from mentors with different expertise, we're very grateful” he added. Nerro has also been selected as a Namibian start-up to go Finland to pitch Leo Canopus as part of the Boost-up programme ran by the Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS 2).
The business model of the startup focuses on helping communities on closing the digital divide and also aims to ensure social inclusion and equal opportunities for all. As a way forward, they intend on continuing to listen to both current and future needs of their target audience as well as to ensure flexibility and availability when adopting to new and cutting-edge technologies.
“Nerro Nendongo is someone who demonstrates a high level of commitment to his business. He is very astute, hardworking and a very good communicator. With such qualities, I have no doubt that if he persists with such attributes, he will become very successful in his entrepreneurial trajectory” said Edwin Kavihuha, mentor and Entrepreneurship and Incubation Officer at NBII.