“Entrepreneurship has been the backbone of the Zambian economy since the ardent of privatization, as many people no longer depend on the government for them to survive except in few situations.” Clement Mwaanga, Leah Chewe, “Entrepreneurship Development: Reflections on Organisational Challenges that Hinder Their Growth,” Management, Vol. 6 No. 5, 2016, pp. 137-145.
Entrepreneurship is a key component of the Zambian Government’s own vision for the nation, as stated in its 2030 Vision: “Strong entrepreneurial capabilities, self-reliant, outward looking and enterprising, where nationals take advantage of potential and available opportunities.”
Unfortunately, the Zambia Development Agency’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship has met with limited success. “Most of the entrepreneurs are operating in a downward spiral with most of them closing down their businesses and getting back to their old ways of doing business.” Mwaanga and Chewe, supra. “Recent research into small-business development has also shown that the rate of failure of entrepreneurs in developing countries is higher than in the developed world.” Id.
For many years, WISE Zambia has provided vocational training, such as sewing and agricultural skills, to deserving vulnerable women and students. But these vocational skills, standing alone, were not enough to ensure entrepreneurial success. Further, complete entrepreneurial skills are vital to all of our students, whether they return to their family farms, set up their own businesses—one of our students is already planning to open his own restaurant—or work for larger businesses.
Beginning in November 2020, WISE Zambia, in partnership with Youth of Africa Career Development, will begin intense entrepreneurial training available to its 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. This curriculum includes effective decision making, management skills, time management, among the 36-week program.
We seek to prepare our students for employment, whether working for other entities or going into business for themselves. Over time, we will encourage our students and alumni to develop their own business plans and to act as an intermediary for finding seed funding for these businesses.