My entire life has been centred on education, starting from the time I was trained as a teacher. During my career, I taught at many schools including heading the following schools; Chinsali Girls, Kasama Girls and Helen Kaunda Girls of Kitwe where I left remarkable improvements. As per tradition in the Ministry of Education, time came for me to be transferred to Kabwe, where I retired and currently settled with my family.
With the passion to contribute to society and outstanding performance in my teaching career, I was persuaded to go into politics and contested a parliamentary seat which Iunfortunately lost in the election. After failure to win the parliamentary seat where great expectations lay, I had nothing to do and almost became depressed. Later I started a small business but did not do much.
In 1995, I went to Lusaka and learnt of the Future Search Entrepreneurship workshop starting at National Institute for Public Administration (NIPA) where its offices were located. I went and registered for the workshop. When the workshop started, the most challenging thing happened on the second day when we were all asked to start a business. Being a
visitor I had no resources so it proved too difficult for me. However, I did not give up and thought of starting polishing shoes and making simple sausages. I did so well with the business creation exercise (BCE) that I even won a Second Prize at the end of the workshop. After this training and with the influence of the Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PECs), my mind was opened. Using the PECs and my profession as an educationist, I got a one year contract at Nkrumah Teachers Training College as a Senior Lecturer which I never renewed because I saw no future in that work. Using the “PECs of Information seeking and Opportunity Seeking and Initiative”, I managed to secure three (3) years contract with YWCA as an Entrepreneurship Trainer. This programme was sponsored by the German Government for Kabwe townships and surrounding Peri-urban areas. At the end of the contract I was given only K184,000.00 not rebased. That made me refuse to renew the contract when asked to.With this same money, my passion for contributing to the education sector was invoked. I therefore, rented an office at Chitanda House and started the business of conducting entrepreneurship training and other business courses with the initial number of six (6) students. Despite the low enrolment levels, I was not discouraged instead I used “persistence and other PECs”, to continue the business which eventually led to
increased enrolment of students. Between 1999 and 2000, I surveyed the market and decided to start a Teacher’s Training College. I prepared the necessary paper work and registered the business of a college with a Catholic orientation by the name of Immaculata Teachers College. The enrolment increased which resulted in acquiring another lecture room at the same premises. At this time, we raised K4,000.00 from the sale of application forms and bought tables and chairs for the college and recruited three teachers. The first 37 students in a 3 year course known as Zambia Basic Education Certificate (ZABEC) commenced. The fees paid by the students were used to pay teachers’ salaries. The demand
increased and the need arose to move to a bigger training facility
In 1998 I was involved in selling semi-precious stones. I heard about Future Search from a friend I met in Rhodes Park Lusaka, when I was planning to go to Lufunsa in search of quality stones because the ones I had were of poor quality and could not be sold. My friend persuaded me not go to Lufunsa but go to Future Search to learn how to run business instead of chasing for unprofitable and illegal business. This friend of mine escorted me to NIPA where Future Search was located then.
Fortunate enough I was interviewed and registered for an Entrepreneurship Development Workshop. I can confirm that the workshop was indeed an eye opener. The opportunities I couldn’t see before I was able to see them. Two days after the workshop, I decided to go back to my parents’ village in Pemba; Southern
Province of Zambia. May I mention here that Pemba has just been accorded a District Status by the PF Government meaning it was a remote area and for others there were no opportunities in such a place. But with the training from Future Search and “baptized” with Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PECs), I was able to see opportunities in that area.
During the workshop, I made and saved money from the Business Creation Exercise (BCE) which I later used to buy 5kg beans (white and kambulangeti) and 5kg Irish potatoes to go and plant in the village. In the village people discouraged me that such crops could not grow in that area. But I was not discouraged because I learnt from the workshop not to be easily controlled by others’ advice and to stick to my own judgment even in the face of opposition early success. I also learnt to be confident in my own ability to complete a difficult task or challenges. I was motivated to go ahead and plant.
To prove the power of the PECs and prove my critics wrong I had a very good yield from the two crops. Using the “PEC of Persuasion and Networking”, I affiliated myself to the cooperatives in the area one of them being Kachoba Farm Institute. This made it easy for me to network with other community members. Thus the marketing of my products was easy through barter and cash transactions. From the proceeds made, I diversified and started rearing village chickens and growing sunflower. From the sunflower, I started producing cooking oil and sunflower cake. To improve and add value to the stock feed I was formulating, I also started adding to the cake kapenta pieces which I bought from Kariba. This in turn
improved the quality and number of my chickens. I made a good fortune from these businesses and earned recognition from my community members. Due to my outstanding results and performance, the community members nominated me to be a ward councillor. I contested and won the elections and served for one year.
After that experience, in 2000 I left my parents’ village and relocated to Lusaka for greener pastures. My goal was not to come and look for employment but to purchase a farm land. In Lusaka, I started interacting with people of progressive ideas. This made it easier for me to acquire a farm land in Lusaka West and continued rearing village chickens and started growing assorted vegetables.
Over the years I have also diversified into keeping broilers, quails, goats and cattle. Currently I have 78 herds of cattle, although my goal was to have more than 500 today but I have been selling. From the cattle sales I managed to purchase two farms in Chirundu along Kafue River and Chisamba. At my Chirundu farm
My success as an entrepreneur has been achieved through attending a Future Search Entrepreneurship Skills Development Workshop in Ndola.Before attending the workshop, I was in house construction business which due to lack of entrepreneurial skills was not yielding the intended results. In April 1994, I heard an announcement through the public address system (used by Future Search in those days), that there would be an Entrepreneurship Skills Development Workshop at Henry Makulu guest house. I decided to attend. At the workshop, I learnt about the “Ten Entrepreneurial Competences,” which empowered me with the skills I so much needed. After training, I decided to apply the Opportunity Seeking PEC and changed to sausage production and bakery. But due to jealousy, my land lord decided to evict me from the production premises.
Applying the Persistence PEC, I did not give up. I decided to re-locate to Mansa, where I got employment as a bakery attendant. Six months later, I was sponsored by the same bakery to attend a 2 years bakers’ course in Lusaka. After the course and given the skills I had acquired from the Future Search training, I was set to start my own bakery. Using the“Information and Opportunity Seeking PECs,” I discovered that the nearby Samfya Boma lacked supply of fresh bread and buns. I decided to set up a bakery there in 2004, using the traditional baking oven below.While operating the traditional baking oven, I came to learn about the CEEC empowerment fund for Entrepreneurs. In consultation with FutureSearch members of staff, I applied the Business Plan writing skills learnt from the Future Search Training and quickly proceeded to prepare one for a bakery and presented it to CEEC. The application was approved and CEEC bought brand new baking equipment for me. Now I operate the only modern bakery in Samfya with a wide range of customers. I have employed FIVE (5) permanent and TWO (2) part time employees. Not forgetting the Opportunity Seeking PEC, I have also diversified into FISH FARMING and presently own four fish ponds. I am currently the Chairperson of Samfya Future Search Association and use my entrepreneurship skills acquired from Future Search training and my experience to motivate and inspire other members of the Association. Many thanks to Future Search and I wish to urge other Zambians out there, to access this training, so that we can alleviate poverty and develop our Nation
Before I became my own boss, I worked as a casual at ZESCO for One year six months; unfortunately my contract was not renewed. As a casual, I was involved in landscaping where I learnt the basics of my current business. Apart from landscaping, I also developed interest in making fountains and other arts works. When I left ZESCO, I worked with my friends who taught me how to make flower pots, fountains and paving. After acquiring the skill, I decided to work for myself.
My line of business deals with landscaping, paving, garden ponds, fountains and pools construction (Middle in the picture below doing paving with helpers and completed work on customer’s residence). Prior to attending the Future Search Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) training, I used to face challenges in marketing my business, engaging people to work with, saving, customer satisfaction and care. Training is important in every business aspect regardless of how small the business is. It guides you in how you can successfully run your business, manage and grow it. It provides the necessary tools to use, pitfalls to avoid and gives you a competitive advantage. The Entrepreneurship Development Program conducted by Future Search Project has left an indelible impression on me. I personally shudder to think what brand of a youth Entrepreneur I would be today, had I not passed through this Future Search regiment captained by the ‘iconic’ Mary Kakumbi, a brilliant student of life’s university herself.
During the Entrepreneurship Development program, the Future Search team espoused palpable values enshrined in their creed of ‘Personal Entrepreneurship Competencies’ or PECS. It is here that I came across irrefutable entrepreneurial principles churned out in motivating fashion. The core of which 10 stood out as follows: Opportunity Seeking & Initiative; Risk Taking; Demand for Efficiency & Quality; Persistence; Commitment To The Work Contract; Information Seeking ; Goal Setting; Systematic Planning &Monitoring; Persuation & Networking and Independence & Self Confidence.
Prior to this exposure I was a business novice with mere survival instinct - A rough diamond needing extreme polishing. Future Search embarked on overhauling my mindset with their trade mark ‘Mind Transformation’ dispensed by the legendary late Dennis Liwewe (May His Dear Soul Rest In Peace) with finesse. He held nothing back and gave shrewd blunt advice about life’s temptations and trappings, how one should Persist diligently in the face of adversity and finally the importance of not losing moral and financial balance after succeeding. Such passion and raw honesty registered deeply in my sub conscious and I immediately re-evaluated my guiding principles on a personal and business level.
By the end of the EDP program I was ready to venture into the cleaning industry and eventually formed my own company called Clean Tech Services Ltd, based in Ndola, and offering an array of cleaning services and products. My perspective on enterprise was re-engineered. The values learnt through EDP have enabled me to provide principled business leadership by setting SMART Goals. I have independently and confidently gone about executing business strategies with Systematic Planning and Prudent Financial Management, as per Future Search training. A healthy appetite for Risk Taking helps me ensure that I seize unusual Opportunities and most decisively I try not to lose the initiative.
EDP made me realize that Networking is a valuable business tool if you are looking to get ahead as it provides valuable insights into the private and public sectors, market moods and trends including regulatory frame works. In applying this principle, I sought meaningful interaction by joining associations and agencies such as the Ndola Future Search Association, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Ndola Chamber of Commerce and Industry and many others. These have continually facilitated enormous avenues for growth and long term sustainability that would otherwise have taken too long to attain on my own
Born in Chavuma – Zambezi some 76 years ago I had my early education at mission schools in Chavuma and Chitokoloki and Mukinge Girls School. I obtained my T4 Teachers Certificate from Chipembi Girls Secondary School; I am a teacher by profession. I joined UNIP in 1962 and became Freedom Fighter. When I met Dr Kenneth Kaunda who later became the first Republican President, I saw Zambia being born. I later became member of the UNIP’s Women’s League and rose to be in charge of women empowerment. I held several positions in the party committees, including my appointments as member of Central Committee in charge of Eastern Province and Chairperson in charge of Youth and Sport Subcommittee of the Central Committee in 1983 and 1986 respectively.
My entrepreneurial spirit was ignited with my participation in Future Search Workshop in 1998. Future Search was located at NIPA at that time. This is where it all began the critical shift of turning vision into action started. My participation in the workshop showed me an alternative way of contributing to the socio-economic development of Zambia outside of the Civil Service. I saw and still see Future Search as an instrument of discovery and change, a process to which one should get close and don’t let it go until you reach the goal. The understanding and appreciation of the Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PECs) is vitally important. Fortunately my rich educationalbackground coupled with the discipline, morality and honestyinculcated in us throughout my life helped me to grasp the PECs quickly and have remained part of my thinking since then.
Before I went to Future Search I used to supply scones and fritters to various entities in Lusaka. One day I said to myself “let me go to Future Search in order to gain knowledge and see what I could do on my own”. After the training with Future Search, I came up with a storage project for women vendors. Later, container and cold room projects were added. These project ideas became so popular that everybody was doing them. In effect, my idea was “stolen” but I did not give up. I went into timber business and supply of fresh fish. I used to supply mukwa doors. Business was good, but at some point I could not cope with the increasing demand in terms of labour and investment.
Not wanting to bother my children who could give financial assistance to sustain the business, I quickly branched into farm business at my own land in Lusaka West where I started with vegetable growing and supplying to the market. Fish pond, piggery and poultry were added to the business. Extreme weather conditions led to the closure of the piggery but the vegetable growing and the poultry have remained as my core business in spite of water problems in Lusaka West.Meanwhile, I have installed a bore hole on the farm with financial support from my children and a loan from micro bank. Sadly, my husband passed on five years ago so I have had to handle everything myself. I have employed two workers on the farm.
After the training, I would confidently say that am able to market the business, set goals, plan objectively and set deadlines to every task, meet and in many cases exceed customer expectations and offer uncompromised quality goods and services. The Personal Entrepreneurial Competencies (PECs) taught in the Future Search Entrepreneurship Development Programme have helped me sharpen my business acumen.
As young man, this in turn has given me a stable self employment and also engages more than four people each time I have a contract. In short I have created a job for myself and to four other people.May I end by encouraging you the reader or your family member, colleague (if you or them have not attended this workshop) to attend the workshop; I can assure you, your life and/or theirs will completely change. You will become an achievement oriented person, wealth and job creator. This eventually will result in national development.