The 3rd National Business Conference took place on Thursday 20 July 2017 at the Mulungushi Conference Centre in Lusaka, with Bruce Lawson-McDowall, Head of DFID Zambia, giving the opening speech. The conference theme was ‘Building businesses to last’ and its primary sponsor was Barclays Bank Zambia. Doors opened at 07:30, with around 300 individuals attending the conference, taking advantage of the multiple networking opportunities such an event provides, and aspiring to learn more about successful entrepreneurship.
This year’s conference had a packed program with 16 individual sessions and more than 40 panelists and speakers. The conference featured two key note speakers — Mr. Ravi Devalia of Devalia Group of Companies and Dr. David Nama from Dana Holdings.
In helping businesses find their winning strategy, Ravi Devalia highlighted his own longevity in business and how with failures you bounce back even stronger. Dr Nama explained how being a good steward of your business helps you build a business that lasts, serving not only the company, but also customers, employees, suppliers and stakeholders.
The various sessions included Strategies and Tools for Entrepreneurial Success and Mega Projects (Construction, ICT, Energy & Education), and breakout sessions on Agri-Business, and Manufacturing and Processing. Top entrepreneurs and business leaders contributing to these sessions included Simunza Muyangana of Bongohive, Teija Lublinkhof of Marika’s Gourmet Coffee, Chishimba Nyambe of PR Girl and Temwe Mutunga of Oakfield Investments.
A highlight of the day was the debate which asked the question “Do Zambian entrepreneurs think too small?” Could a major factor in our inability to grow businesses be that we simply fail to think big enough? That is what this year’s well-attended debate explored, ably moderated by Nchima Kasongo.
The Best of Zambia manned the ZamB2B Portal stand. The Portal — www.zamb2b.com — is a PEP Zambia initiative hosted and powered by the Best of Zambia.
The newly-launched Portal seeks to strengthen the relationships between local SME suppliers and large corporations and provide an opportunity for mutually beneficial trade partnerships. Essentially it is a database of suppliers and buyers, with electronic tools that enable buyers to submit tender information and receive bids from suppliers. The Portal is actively supported by big names such as CFAO, First Quantum Minerals, Madison General Insurance, Metorex, SAB Miller, Saro Agro, Shoprite, Spar, Sun International, Total Zambia, Toyota Zambia, Woolworths and Zambeef. At the Portal stand, conference participants were invited to register on the Portal and start trading!
We were honoured to be invited as one of the panelists in the closing plenary session ‘Driving Growth of SMEs through Business Linkages’. Gilbert Nsamba, Best of Zambia Sales Manager, sat alongside fellow panelists Jackson Sikamu from Chibuluma Mines, Kapya Chisanga from Food Lovers Market, and Patrick Chiluba from Total Zambia.
The session was moderated by Penias Chabwela of PEP Zambia. The session discussed how multinational companies in Zambia with millions of dollars of annual procurement provide a significant business opportunity to stimulate the local economy by including local SME companies in their supply chain; but in order to supply a large corporate, SMEs need to be ‘ready’ to supply. You can watch the video of this session here.
The annual Nyamuka Business Conference is an extremely valuable transformational event, bringing together hundreds of entrepreneurs at all stages of their business development. It is gaining a reputation as the premier business conference in Zambia. We can’t wait to participate in the 2018 conference!