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    A lesson on entrepreneurship I learnt as a boy in Zambia.

    By Strive Masiyiwa

    A lesson on entrepreneurship I learnt as a boy in Zambia.

    When I was a young boy living in Kitwe, Zambia, I knew of a man who worked for a major mining company as a senior manager. He was a brilliant man, and everyone respected him as one of the first black managers in an industry where all top managers were white at the time. He was truly a hot shot in our black community.

    The job he had gave him total security including housing, holidays, school fees; think of it, he had it! Then a guy moved into our neighbourhood who was an entrepreneur. A rough diamond with standard education, who was totally driven. He drove a truck to the border with DRC and would bring back fish which he sold from the back of the truck. He saved his money, never went to the bank except to deposit, and soon he was into small-scale mining.

    The Mining Executive now began to talk about going into business himself. He talked about it every day, and was always full of big plans and ideas. He would start things, but always from the safety of his job at the mine.

    The Fishmonger come Small-Scale Miner continued to grow bigger and bigger. Before long he was only into mining because it turned out that he had gone into the fish business as a way to mobilize capital to pursue his passion for mining. He had once worked as a miner.

    The Mining Executive became even louder about his plans, and always badmouthed the Entrepreneur. He even circulated rumours that the Entrepreneur “used Juju and ate babies”!

    Finally the Mining Executive started a Transport business, using bank loans because his friends at the banks gave him loans without asking hard questions. It all fell over after a few years, and he eventually left our town out of embarrassment.

    What do you learn from this?

    List at least 5 things based on what I have taught you before, and no essays please!

    Image credit: Photographer unknown. Congo River.

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