Africa

African Dream: Zambian entrepreneur's cash tips

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Media captionZambian entrepreneur Maybin Mudenda says he started out selling CDs

Maybin Madiba Mudenda, a Zambian who specialises in private equity, started out as a schoolboy selling CDs for pocket money before becoming an insurance sales agent.

As part of the latest series of African Dream, the businessman, who now owns a wheat farming project in Chisamba and Insieme, which holds 50% of African Grey Insurance and 20% of Genesis Finance, shares his tips for those seeking backing for their business ventures and suggests how governments should help.

How to get financial support:

  • Have an idea. Sometimes young entrepreneurs lack genuinely innovative ideas. To sell yourself to an investor you must offer something unique
  • Do not rush it. Entrepreneurs are often too quick to present their business ideas. An idea must be perfected first through extensive research and planning before being presented to a potential investor
Image caption Maybin Madiba Mudenda (r) says fear is the greatest obstacle to success
  • Have confidence. Lack of investor confidence in young entrepreneurs may be partly because young entrepreneurs lack confidence in themselves. No-one wants to entrust their money to someone who does not trust him- or herself. Fear is one of the greatest obstacles to success
  • Learn from your mistakes. One of the most important ways to assess an entrepreneur is to see how they respond to failure. Many young entrepreneurs do not learn from their mistakes and carry the same mistake on with them to every individual or organisation they approach later.

How governments can help:

  • Cut red tape. Dealing with government bureaucracy is the single biggest problem for small businesses in Zambia and probably elsewhere in Africa. Simplifying tax regulations and company registration procedures for small businesses would help entrepreneurs get off the ground faster and start employing people
  • Have a ministry specialising in small business. Other African countries, including Zambia, should emulate South Africa in creating a ministry of small business development to help entrepreneurs develop their products and source funding
  • Open doors. Governments could also support small business owners by advising them on potential new markets and helping them gain access for their products
  • Buy from small businesses. Governments should use small businesses to meet a greater share of their procurement requirements. They could also require mining and construction projects, for example, to procure from small businesses for a proportion of their overall needs.

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