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Words of a Young Entrepreneur Featured

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The one notable challenge for young people is finding their purpose in life. Purpose and passion are key links to achieving ones potential. It is these elements that point me to my goals and dream every day.
I was born in 1984. My parents were my first and greatest teachers, endowing me with strong values and the fear of the Lord. This has made me the woman I have become.  Growing up, I had an eye for art and elite designs. I recall in my early years altering my clothes and accessories and making a new piece altogether. It wasn’t until 2007 when my grandmother taught me a needle craft called crocheting that my passion began to take shape.  Later that year, I crocheted an evening dress which I wore at a wedding reception. Much to my surprise and amazement, a number of people took a stop to just acknowledge the beautiful piece I wore. The following year, a friend asked if I could make her bridal shower dress and I took to the challenge. Yet again, at her shower, the response blew me away.  A couple of people placed orders. It was then that I saw that what started as a pastime had great potential to be harnessed into a business venture. Over the past two years, I have learnt other needle crafts.

Gazelle Trends was born this year and my signature in every work I create is a touch of needle craft. We design and make an assortment of items such as ladies gowns and floor rugs. Although still in its inception stage, the business prospects of Gazelle Trends are very good. Like most young entrepreneurs, the challenge I faced was acquiring capital to set up the business. I took initiative and started with a parallel idea that required little capital. Achieving a goal does not come easy; it takes inner desire, conviction and commitment to the dream. You have to perceive the dream and work towards it.

My passion is beyond Gazelle, it extends to the young people and this nation. I yearn to see young people living a purpose driven life. If we all took our place, we can transform the economic face of Zambia.  The beauty about a developing nation is that there is a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs. There is so much that is yet to be explored and so many associations and agencies are on hand to assist MSMEs.

Besides being a 3rd year Business Administration student at the University of Lusaka, I am privileged to be a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a youth arm of Teach to Fish. This organization has polished my entrepreneur skills and linked me to other organizations such as ZCSMBA, ILO, ZFWIB, COMESA SME toolkit, National Arts Council, ZDA among others. You would be amazed at how doors at these organizations are always open, and office holders ready to assist. Am quick to also state also that the government is pro-entrepreneurship empowerment as can be revealed by their involvement in many entrepreneur programs and the 2011 budget presentation in which K76 billion has been allocated towards empowerment funds. At the recently held Business Enterprise Exhibition (BEE) in October and Month of Women Entrepreneurs (MOWE) in September, initiated by ZCSMBA and ILO (under its Women Entrepreneurship Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE) program) respectively, it was humbling to note the commitment by ILO and ZCSMBA and their cooperating partners towards such a cause. Such platforms are mind opening and create a lot of exposure and linkages of which I am a beneficiary. It was also interesting to see what fellow entrepreneurs are up to, amazing stuff! Things have started happening in Zambia, people are waking up and rising to the occasion. Youths should take advantage of all these activities and be a part of such associations.

Womba's ProductsI urge you fellow young people to woke up and see the vast opportunities right before your eyes. Take a step from dreaming. Someone once said, ‘words are just words, dreams are just dreams, the only real thing is performance’. Being an entrepreneur involves identifying an opportunity, setting systematic plans, pursuing a vision and taking calculated risks.  I recall one evening before I learnt to crochet, I was admiring a crochet design and I exclaimed to my mom how hard and impossible that seemed. My mom stopped and said to me, ‘nothing is impossible’. Less than two years later, I crocheted a dress for my friend’s bridal shower! Truly, nothing is impossible. If you can perceive and see it in your mind, you can do it. I urge you to think and act beyond being an SME, which is really supposed to be a starting point. Its time we saw business moguls and Zambian owned business empires. I applaud fathers and mothers of the land such as Lawrence Sikutwa, David Nama, Bwalya Chiti, mama Sylvia Banda among others who have dared to break new grounds and once in a while, you hear of young people like Penjani N’guni of Divine Touch, who are also taking long strides towards great dreams. You cannot afford to sleep in such a time as this. Arise!

Let me also urge organizations and the government to foster their role in developing entrepreneurs. The government should take a leading role and prioritize entrepreneur developments. Deliberate actions should be taken to empower and support entrepreneurs.   The government should put actions in place that encourage foreign investors such as large supermarkets to buy some of their merchandise from SMEs. We should see more Zambian products in leading supermarkets.

Womba's ProductsI look forward to a time (I pray in my lifetime) when Zambia will be a nation to be reckoned with. But even if it is not in my lifetime, am fulfilled knowing am playing my part to change the economic face of my beloved Zambia.
Last modified on Friday, 20 April 2012 14:13

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