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David Mbudhi: Pioneering Manufacturing of unique Protective Helmets in Africa

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

"Our company manufactures a wide range of helmets. We are involved in the manufacturing of helmets that come with great technological features that are used for sports, micro mobility, recreational activities and dangerous work activities to safeguard users’ heads and ensure maximum safety.

Q1:Tell us about your yourself:

As a Founder & CPO my core focus is on 100% eco-friendly and background in resource conserving micro mobility and a background knowledge in product management. I am in charge of the areas of product development, methods and innovation.

Q2:What does your company do?:

Our company manufactures a wide range of helmets. We are involved in the manufacturing of helmets that come with great technological features that are used for sports, micro mobility, recreational activities and dangerous work activities to safeguard users’ heads and ensure maximum safety.

Q3: What inspired you to start your business?:

In the summer of 2020, out of a small town in northern Namibia, Ongwediva, the founders of Tetranologie Mobility decided to embark upon a micro mobility idea that would grow and spread across geographies and generations to come. Tetranologie Mobility’s brands’ innovation and imagination for what was possible on two wheels is sparking a transportation revolution and a cycling culture that would make our Helmetric and SALVA helmet brands one of the most recognised, sought after and revered helmet brands in Europe, Africa and around the world.

Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?:

We are involved in the manufacturing of helmets that come with great technological features that are used for sports, micro mobility, recreational activities and dangerous work activities to safeguard users’ heads and ensure maximum safety. For instance, Bicycle (e.g. Cycling, Commuting), MOTO MX (e.g. Quadbikes/Dirt), Snow (e.g. Skiing), Equestrian (e.g. Horse Racing), Sports Teams (e.g. Ice Hockey, Cricket, etc.), MOTO (e.g. Motorcycles), Leisure Activities (e.g. Rock Climbing) and Dangerous Work Activities (e.g. Construction, Mining, Police Riot, Fire Fighting).

Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?:

We’ve had to face quite a few challenges. Our strategy was to first enter the European market before expanding into Africa, and we knew from the start that we would need to establish a platform or join various platforms to make an entrance into markets like Europe where cycling and micro mobility markets are booming.

The other major challenge we experienced was around getting together the financing to put out the first working prototypes. We had a lot of people who believed in the idea, but they didn’t have the money available to assist us, and few people were willing to gamble their money at the prototype stage. Despite all these, we’ve made it, and we’re at the point where the products are fully certified and market ready.

Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?:

Using the resources available at our disposal and not necessarily wait for handouts. Start, use what you have, where you are and the ones that need to join you on the journey and to purchase your products will eventually locate you along the way. It took us long to figure this out.

Q7: What are your 3 priorities right now:

Our biggest priorities right now include:

  1. Focusing on business development

  2. Focusing on growth without team disruption

  3. Futurist thinking and contingency planning

Q8: What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?:

Mostly, we want to start entering other markets with what we have and where we are. We need to fully validate our products so we can be market-fit and so we can make sure that we get rid of all the small problems and hiccups we’ve been experiencing. It’s time to get the helmet out there, so that’s one of the biggest plans we have for the future.

Q9: Advice to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?:

When you start, don’t give up. Don’t ever feel that your idea isn’t worth taking out there. You may be rejected, but that doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Rejection is part of the process. It only strengthens you. It does not mean that it’s the end. Someone will come along and notice what you’re doing. You just keep doing what you’re doing.

In his Book Closing the Gap: The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa Professor Tshilidzi Marwala emphasises the importance of education to enable aggressive adoption of new technologies. In this regard: awareness, alongside innovation and regulation shape a progressive narrative, towards shaping the Africa we want. Alongside proprietary innovations in the hands of innovative creators like David Mbudhi creating and owning platforms that enable innovation, we must have those driving the awareness.

A quick glance at South Africa's current calendar, reveals numerous racing competitions on the cards, well beyond the mountain climbing activities, outdoor enthusiasts engage in a wide variety of other helmet-requiring activities. That's just for South Africa, as an outdoor landscape.

Why would we not have an Africa born and bred head-safety solution, such as the one David Mbudhi and his team are providing via Tetranologie Mobility? It's about time, we see such a rise to the occasion and localise these essential items, by Africans for Africans. Here's to more wins ahead for David Mbudhi and the team. Africa rises when its industrialists rise.

I love the story that inspired this venture, trying to build what will not only solve the problems of the locals but even become a global brand selling to Europe, America and the rest of the world. That is the future of Africa, when we begin to birth businesses that will go all out to compete globally. I see a roadmap for sustainability in their vision with a potential of creating more employment opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths of Africa.

I look forward to seeing what SALVA helmet will become in the coming years, as the team, in the true spirit of adventure, an industry segment they serve, they head out there to explore and attain what's possible and beyond.

I am incredibly proud of what David Mbudhi and his team are providing via Tetranologie Mobility. Framing their helmet safety solutions, within the ambit of child and youth safety alone: one gets to realise that there are certain childhood scars that should never have been part of our life's journey to begin with. Let alone lives lost, across child, youth and adult populations, which is quite unnecessary and regrettable.

I am all the more glad: to see the uniqueness with which sporting and out-door lifestyle activities safety is being prioritised by David Mbudhi and his team at Tetranologie Mobility

Priscilla Ekundare Lead Designer - Ceela Creatives

It has been estimated by the World Health organisation that 1.1 million people die as a result of work-related issues and occupational injuries. This figure might only look too much to be true for people who have not known anyone who died on the spot or had a severe injury due to the lack of preventive measures for hazards.

In developing countries like Africa, the effect is higher than in most developed countries and only few measures have been put in place to reduce mortality and injury rates drastically in the work place and during sport-related activities. The courage of Tetranologie Mobility towards contributing to a healthy and safe environment in Africa is highly commendable. From going through the European Market which is the origin of Occupational Health to invading Africa with solutions that would improve our lives.

Connect with David Mbudhi

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