Global Shapers Lusaka (from the World Economic Forum)

Sara Drawwater
19 July 2013
Lusaka Global Shapers came to our attention via Twitter. We knew we were on to something that was good for Lusaka, something that was good for the people who got involved. So we dug a little deeper.

Lusaka Global Shapers came to our attention via Twitter. We knew we were on to something that was good for Lusaka, something that was good for the people who got involved. So we dug a little deeper.

In summary if you are between the ages of 20 and 30, possess an entrepreneurial track record and are willing to engage in the community, then you can apply to be a Lusaka Shaper*. As a Lusaka Shaper you will work alongside other young enterprising people, and represent Lusaka to the international community. *The closing date is 22nd July 2013, so apply now!

The following details about Lusaka Shapers is via interview with Matthew Grollnek, the Global Shapers Lusaka Hub Director, who you can follow on Twitter.

Please introduce the Global Shapers Concept, from your perspectiveGlobal Shapers is an excellent opportunity for young Lusaka leaders to meet, and to act as the voice of Lusaka to the international community. Global Shapers is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, which aims to improve the world by bringing together world leaders in business, politics and academia. After realising they were often excluding the voice of the youth, they initiated the Global Shapers program to include young leaders in their efforts. I’m really excited about this programme coming to Lusaka for two reasons:

  1. First, Lusaka is home to many enterprising, inspiring and hard working young people. But I have learnt that many do not know each other and often work in isolation. Global Shapers brings them together, allowing them to use their individual experiences and expertise to imagine and execute projects that Lusaka has never seen before.
  2. Second, the Lusaka Global Shapers will represent Lusaka to the international community. This gives Lusaka the chance to tell its own story to the world. The Lusaka Global Shapers can relay realities on the ground, the good and the bad, so the international community better knows how to engage Lusaka’s youth, in a respectful and informed way.

How and why did you become the Global Shapers Lusaka Hub Director?The Global Shapers Community is growing quickly. It has ‘hubs’ in 251 cities, including London, Tokyo, New York and Lagos. Why should Lusaka not be on that list?

The honor of curating this group of Shapers came to me because of the work I have done in finding and developing young Zambian leaders in education and entrepreneurship. While working with the US Embassy I brought the USAP program to Zambia, which has sent high performing students to top US schools including Harvard, MIT and others. I also consulted in the startup of Zambia’s first AgriBusiness Incubator. In my current project, Startup Junction, I am working to bring together Zambia’s entrepreneur community to encourage collaboration, innovation, and strong business skills. I really believe that when creative, capable minds come together, fire happens! This is exactly what Global Shapers does.

What characteristics and experience are you looking for in applicants?The guidelines say Global Shapers must:

  • Apply after their 20th birthday and before their 30th birthday
  • Be based in Lusaka
  • Represent all different walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Possess an entrepreneurial track record, having already initiated and delivered a major project, or founded a company or organisation, exceptionally contributing to serving society at large
  • Be ready to deeply engage in the community and support fellow shapers in their individual and professional development

What we are really looking for are go-getters. People who think outside of the box and take action on those thoughts. People who bring their passions to life and don’t give up when they face obstacles or criticism.

What is the application process?Due to popular demand, we have extended the application deadline to the end of the day, July 22nd 2013. Interested people can apply here. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee, made up of leaders in industry in Lusaka, such as senior level managers, a Zambian World Ecomomic Forum affiliate, and a consultant for the UN. The committee will conduct due diligence on applicant companies and organisations. They will interview candidates who are on the border of being accepted. The final 10 Lusaka Global Shapers will be announced in the first week of August.

What do the 10 successful candidates do after they have been named?After some initial orientation and getting to know each other, each Global Shapers hub defines its own interest and focus. The initial cohort will have the critical role of defining how the Global Shapers program is run in Lusaka. Typically each hub picks one or two topics to focus on. For example, the Harare hub has focused on political understanding, throwing events to bring together rival parties. The San Francisco hub has focused on innovation, working with local designers to create products to address needs in their city. The Abuja hub has focused on entrepreneurship, encouraging youth by introducing them to successful female business owners.

Being affiliated with the World Economic Forum gives Lusaka Global Shapers direct access to other forum members and employees. Through a social network just for Global Shapers, Lusaka Shapers will have a platform to network and collaborate with other young leaders throughout the world.

In addition, some Lusaka Global Shapers will have the opportunity to be the voice of Lusaka by attending events held by the World Economic Forum, including the annual conference at Davos, and the World Economic Forum Africa Conference.

What does the future of such a project look like for you?The Global Shapers Community in Lusaka can only consist of 10 individuals. I am really excited to see what initiatives the first cohort of Global Shapers will come up with and how they will shape the Lusaka. My hope is that the effects of this programme expand beyond the 10 Shapers, and helps to strengthen a broader movement of young people in Zambia who are taking initiative and starting businesses and organisations, that shape the nation into one that suits the vision of the youth. To create a larger community of young change makers, we have started the Facebook group Young Entrepreneurs in Zambia to exchange information and share their work. Please join us and join the conversation.

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