Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit (ZES 2015) successfully hosted by WECREATE Zambia & U.S. Embassy in Zambia

To commemorate the Global Entrepreneurship Week, the WECREATE Zambia Center in partnership with the U.S Embassy in Lusaka successfully hosted the Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit (ZES) 2015 in Lusaka at the WECREATE Zambia Center in Kuku compound.

The theme was ‘Accessing good ideas, accessing finance’ and the summit was solely aimed at addressing the needs of entrepreneurs to finance their good ideas so they can turn business plans into reality.

At this summit, entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs were given a chance to pitch their businesses and business ideas to more than 30 investors and lenders who gained access to Zambian business ideas that are profitable, bankable, innovative and above all; viable in the long term.

(In case you are eager to learn more on how to successfully pitch a business concept to investors and lenders, please view our article ‘the art of the pitch’.)

Some of the entrepreneurs that graced the 2015 summit included Towani Clarke of Kutowa Designs, Kamiza Chikula a multi-talented serial entrepreneur and renowned communicator, Philemon Chuma of Joy Milling, Mawano Kambeu of Dot Com Zambia, Kampamba Shula of Quka Consulting, Imanga Kayama founder of Manic Creatives Ltd, Elijah Zgambo of Street Culture Zambia, Alinani Mugala of Straight-Up Marketing, Paul Nyambe of Zamgoat Products Ltd, and Andrew Zaraki Nguvu proprietor of Kasumbi Pure Poultry.

The U.S Ambassador Eric Schultz in his welcoming remarks is quoted to have said:

“I have met many of Zambia’s innovative, savvy entrepreneurs, and I believe they have the ideas, abilities, and dedication to bring their businesses to fruition to help diversify Zambia’s private sector. Their entrepreneurial spirit will grow Zambia’s micro, small and medium-size firms, contributing important solutions, addressing community needs, and growing Zambia’s burgeoning middle class.”

Nambula Kachumi who serves as WECREATE Zambia Center executive director was equally delighted to extend a heartfelt welcome to the entrepreneurs and exhibitors that attended the first ever ZES and is quoted to have said:

“I am happy to further note that this is in-fact a very timely gathering, given the importance that the government has attached to women and youth empowerment, as demonstrated in a number of national policies and frameworks including the Vision 2030, the 6th National Development Plan and now 7th National Development which is currently in the offing.”

The ZES 2015 saw several financial institutions exhibiting and offering entrepreneurs many different financial solutions to enable their businesses grow. One of the lenders interviewed at the 2015 summit was the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO), which is the country’s largest Registered Commercial Bank and was represented by Ms. Lozindaba Dauya (Research Analyst under the ZANACO Agribusiness department) and she had the following to say,

“ ZANACO offers small holder farmers and micro entrepreneurs various SME friendly account plans and credit facilities including overdrafts for working capital support, short and medium term loans and invoice discounting. ZANACO also launched the ‘Double Beula’ promotion on 21st October which will run for a period of six months expiring on the 22nd of April 2016 aimed at empowering small businesses by allowing them to build up deposits over this period and reward them with debt amounts double the amount of the deposit with no additional collateral needed.”

In addition, Zambia’s second largest bank by branch network; Finance Bank Zambia (FBZ) Plc was also exhibiting at this year’s summit, FBZ was represented by Ms. Jane Karima; the bank’s assistant director of credit support. During an interview Ms. Karima had the following to say:

“FBZ Plc offers a wide range of credit facilities which include working capital loans, capital expenditure financing, letters of credit, trade and cash management services and treasury and investment services. The bank is determined to enable entrepreneurs through its extensive branch network that consists of 64 outlets and over 147 ATM machines spread across all 10 provinces in the country.”

Cavmont Bank did not fall short of the financial institutions that were exhibiting at the ZES 2015, the bank was represented by Mr. John Kalinde who happens to be the banks SME Relationship Officer, Mr. Kalinde was interviewed and gave the following statement,

“Cavmont Bank Ltd is a registered Commercial bank in Zambia with 19 branches located in Lusaka, Chingola, Ndola, Kitwe, Chililabombwe, Mbala, Mpulungu, Solwezi, Mwense, Chipata, Kasama, Mansa and Mufumbwe. The bank offers SME’s growth through tailored and customized products and services focusing on under-served markets.”

Other banks exhibiting at this year’s summit included AB Bank which is a fully licensed bank focused on low-income clients and micro and SME loans, AB Bank was represented by Ms. Mwape Benaya the organizations SME Credit Officer and during an interview she said,

“AB Bank is a part of a network of social impact banks that exist in many developing nations including Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Rwanda. Opening an account with AB Bank is very easy and the bank does not charge any monthly fees. The bank offers free savings products with very attractive interest rates, fixed deposits with interest of up to 15% and free current accounts with full cheques and transfer services. The bank offers loans from K1,000 to K50,000 for micro-entrepreneurs, K3,000 and above for small scale farmers and from K50,000 to K1,500,000 for SME’s.”

Ms. Lucy Chola represented an investment company called Business Partners International (BPI) and she had the following to say of their services,

“We offer unique and individualized risk finance solutions to SME’s according to their specific needs in the countries we operate, additionally because BPI is a fund management company we offer management support, business building and value added services through technical assistance.”

Other notable financial institutions exhibiting included Pangaea Securities, Madison Finance Company Limited, Stanbic Bank, BancABC, Ecobank, and Finca, Focus Financial Services Limited, Grofin Zambia, Kukula Capital, National Savings and Credit Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank Zambia.

The summit was also graced by social impact investors that included AgDevCo, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Zambia and Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ).

AgDevCo Zambia was represented by Ms. Mulenga Bwalya and Amanda Zimba. The following was said about their company:

“We invest flexible, long term capital in African agricultural enterprises, our investments range typically from $250,000 to around $4 million and to date we have invested over $40 million in over 40 enterprises.  Our mission is to build profitable businesses operating at scale which can contribute to food security, drive economic growth and create jobs therefore we add value throughout the agricultural value chain thereby promoting  sustainable farming practices to create long-lasting beneficial impacts.”

Zambia’s first technology and innovation hub; BongoHive did not fall short off the list of exhibitors, the hub was represented by George Mutale who had the following to say:

“Our vision is to foster a vibrant entrepreneurship community in Zambia that is capable of developing, launching and operating enterprises that address the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow in an effective, sustainable and socially impactful way. Our programmes include technical workshops, business mentorship and incubation. Additionally we also provide technical assistance, advice and expertise to corporate and intuitional clients on a range of technology issues.”

The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) which was is responsible for fostering economic growth and development in Zambia through promoting trade and investment and an efficient, effective and coordinated private sector led economic development strategy was also exhibiting at this year’s summit. The agency also has the challenge to develop an internationally competitive Zambian economy through innovations that promote high skills, productive investment and increased trade.

Hosting the summit was a great initiative, having so many different people with common interests gathering and exchanging information from one point, the summit brought together several entrepreneurs and investors.

Hopefully the summit will enable entrepreneurs to successfully expand and finance their businesses and enterprises as well as provide investors with viable and bankable businesses to invest their money and resources in.

Add or subtract from this story by commenting below or simply let us know what you think.

This article was co-authored by Andrew Zaraki Nguvu and Imanga Kay who both attended the ZES 2015 as invite-only entrepreneurs to the morning session of the summit. Their respective bios can be found at the bottom of other articles on this website.

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