Twenty eight year old Thomas Duncan, owner of Anticor heads up Namibia’s largest distributor of Cleantech Point-of-Entry & Point-of-Use Water Purification Systems this week made the Africa’s ‘Forbes 30 under 30’.
The Forbes list of entrepreneurs include creative disruptors across a number of industries such as consumer technology, health care, education, media and the arts.
Anticor specializes in water treatment, chemical and mechanical plants and as a focus the company offers a wide variety of solutions for industries that require specific water quality.
Having inherited the company from his late father at the age of twenty four, Duncan took on a huge responsibility that required him to turn the company around after returning from Sweden where he had just completed a masters degree in business. By and large, upon his return Anticor was a company which had largely stagnated.
Renewed by passion, over the past four years it has now made a turnover of 75 percent under the watchful eye of Duncan and his leadership team. Today, Anticor has shown rapid growth.
During a one on one interview, he highlighted that putting certain principles in place and realising that being proactive was as vital as getting the right team in place allowed for Anticor to enjoy rapid growth.
“What has been interesting in the beginning was that, because water is such a niche industry we relied on other people’s opinions and expertise but two years down the line, we realised that we cannot just hire people on the basis of experience because if people do not have a passion for growth, then it would not work” he said.
In the last eighteen months, Duncan stated that the company has been very busy with having completed projects in Botswana, Angola and Tanzania where Anticor completed a drop shipping project.
“We also have a partnership with a Finnish company called Solar Water Solutions, this is the world’s most efficient green sustainable water solution that works on solar and is a huge cost saving for us” he highlighted.
Duncan explained that the company in the next two years, plans on handling municipal projects, sea water desalination, recycling of rain water projects and the standard purification of different typographies in Namibia.
Africa’s most brilliant 30 youngsters
Duncan remarks that being in Africa’s Forbes 30 under 30 has been a humbling experience because he believes that being recognized and put on to the map will create more business opportunities for Anticor.
“It has not yet sunk in, but I am grateful. I was nominated by the previous Forbes 30 under 30 recognised entrepreneur, Sandra Mwiihangele with whom I have built a great working relationship.
Mwiihangele and I share common interests and we have similar mind-sets.
Shortly after she nominated me, I received an email and from there I was put through various phases of interviews via skype and email for about three to four months. In addition I had to provide several documents such as proof of good standing in regards profitability, taxation and I also had to list about ten references for proper vetting” he said.
Hard work pays
“I am aware that a notion may exist that I am more privileged than the usual 28 year old, but what most people don’t understand is that from a young age there were numerous things that moulded me.
External factors create a person, and while I had the opportunity to go to a good school and prestigious universities, I had to learn the importance of hard work and focus to get this far.
I am in the position where I am now because I appreciate that there is a huge responsibility to create value for Namibia”, explained Duncan.
He further explained that when he took over his late father’s legacy, financial advisors recommended he sell off the company.
Duncan however refused because he always knew that the company had the potential to grow.
“I refused to sell it because the company after having been run for more than 30 years, still stood before it started making its riches. That’s the essence of time, it always tells” he stated.
Duncan describes the success of Anticor as a break through that took several years to obtain and further advised Namibians with dreams of running their own companies someday, that wherever they may find themselves to make sure they educate themselves.
“We have a lot of gaps to close. One has to spend a lot of time educating themselves. Educate yourself about the world and speak to different people from different cultures.
Through this, one will learn a lot of soft skills.
It is equally important to also listen to other people because this allows one to learn and see their world from other people’s perspectives.
Remember to also be inquisitive and by all means become an influencer in any way possible.
And always follow your gut” Duncan concluded.