The Buzz on: Kelvin Aongola

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Background: Kelvin is one of our newer members at Bongohive. He is best known around here for his startup YandApps. Having grown up in Zambia, Kelvin spent a lot of time between different provinces. He went on to study Theology in Kenya and spent some time in South Africa afterwards. He recently decided to return to Zambia to explore business opportunities. During his studies, he took interest in observing modern technologies and began to explore the field of web development. He has also been recently nominated as one of Lusaka’s 10 Global Shapers.

What drew you to technology? I think it was the movies I watched (eg. Terminator). Besides the fiction, I always hoped the things I saw could become real. Overall, I’ve always wanted to create, and technology seems to simplify that for me.
 
What made you realize you had what it takes to be an entrepreneur? I first realised I had it when I shared a business idea with a friend in high school. I told him to buy sweets from a factory and resell them at double the retailers normally sold. Two days later, he did it and he made more than he expected.
 
Is Yandapps your first startup? If not, what was? Yandapps is my third startup. My first was Habose. Habose was an idea, then I got someone to invest in it. I wrote out the business plan and got the funding.
 
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What challenges have you faced so far as an entrepreneur? Finding key decision makers in the businesses we target was quite the challenge as well as convincing local people that we too can deliver. Another challenge was sitting through long meetings and agreements with clients and having them postpone unnecessary followups.

 

What projects have you worked on so far?

HomeAid: An app that gives users public access to health services and information.

Cervical Cancer Scan(under development): An app for scanning the cervix for cervical cancer symptoms

iHealth: Malaria game and clinics directory, in partnership with Zamrize

Evert: E-learning app Zamlingo: Local language audio translator

Zamsearch: Zambian based search engine(abandoned)

Trakii: Navigation system

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What is the most rewarding thing about your work? When we deliver and a customer is happy. Yandapps is a 3 member team: Samuel is our web developer and graphics designer, Brian is the php and Android developer, and I have decided to focus more on the business side of things (still a shadow html developer). We don’t have a “boss” but instead we work together as a team, each person focusing on their strength. It’s my personal belief that, when people work without the traditional hierarchy it somehow encourages creativity and innovation. We like being free to think and explore ideas without sticking to a one man protocol.

What challenges do you face regularly? Our biggest challenges are usually time and equipment. Time frames are a challenge because we will have a lot to do in a short amount of time. To solve this we simply cut down on certain deals and prioritize those we know are key to our success. As for equipment, in our team we have several talents, however, we are limited by the equipment. Clients would request for certain services but due to this limitation we end up passing the opportunity. We hope to resolve this soon.

What have been some of your low points? My lowest point is when my team isn’t motivated, something that happens naturally. People get burned out. I mostly overcome this by reflecting once again on the goal and the value it has for us.

  • Shukuran Sahid

    Great thing to read about….am motivated 🙂

  • Tony Haanks

    Wonderful story!

    Highly motivating and encouraging. Always nice to see Zambians making a difference.

    Great things to come in the future from Bongo Hive!

  • Chrispine MM

    Interesting to read Aongola’s story. Keep it up young man! You have a bright future waiting for you. However, beware of sniff dogs who once they sniff bucks and carelessly you give inn , then you’ll be gone.