Namutenya Asino could possibly be the youngest exhibitor at this year's SME Expo. The sole owner of Tenya Investment, Namutenya, who celebrates her 26th birthday this month, had a passion for crafting jewelry since she was 12 years old.
"I have been in the industry for long so I picked up some experience along the way when I worked at my mum's craft shop, Big Five arts & crafts. That is when I decided to venture into crafts and design." she said.
With stock that she got from her mother, Namutenya started her own craft shop, Tenya Invesments in 2008. She employs four permanent employees and two students from UNAM and IUM, who are part time workers. She buys the materials and together they do the carvings.
Nedbank and the Municipality of Finland sponsored Tenya Investments to conduct a workshop to train employees to equip themselves with the necessary skills. Products sold at Tenya Investments include jewelry ranging from necklaces, earrings, rings and bangles made from aluminum, which according to Namutenya, is a good metal because it doesn't change colour. Key holders and colourful weaved pot holders can also be found at the craft shop.
In 2009, the patron of Economist Business Woman, Sarah Elago sponsored Namutenya to attend the Economist Annual Business Women Conference and said that this time around, she will also be attending the conference thanks to the NCCI who invited her to the conference.
Namutenya got her first big break in 2010 when she attended the Berlin Expo in China. "I learnt a lot of cultures and got some experience on how to craft different designs. The exposure was definitely great!" she exclaimed.
Pieces sold at Tenya Investments do not come cheap therefore the business mainly targets tourists. According to Namutenya, although the business is doing great, she wont say no to funding, especially now when the business is in dire need of equipment.