Launched in March 2015 under the UKaid-funded Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ), Nyamuka Zambia provides grant capital for deserving entrepreneurs with projects that create jobs and help foster entrepreneurial ecosystems. In the end, a visibly surprised Musanshi was named the first-place winner for her plan to upscale her existing business, Soft Silver Investments, which specialises in growing Zambian button mushrooms. This cash injection will enable her to more than double production from the current 1 tonne per month. The judges were impressed by her plans to tap into the unmet demand in Zambia particularly for button mushrooms and to provide a viable alternative to South African imports.
Upon receipt of the grand prize, Musanshi expressed commitment to providing quality local produce to Zambian consumers, with the aim of growing the business by training local women in mushroom production.
On receiving the prize, Musanshi commented: “It is bitter-sweet to come to the end of the Nyamuka Zambia competition as I have learned so much and met so many inspiring people along the way. But I am thrilled to have secured the top prize as this money will help me and the rest of the Soft Silver team to really grow our business for the future”.
The objective of the business plan competition is to transform Zambia’s entrepreneurial setting by inspiring go-getting businessmen and women to take their ideas to the next level – creating employment and driving the economy forward in the process.
“During the course of the competition, Nyamuka Zambia provided all competitors with vital support and technical expertise through business planning workshops, coaching and mentoring sessions and many opportunities to network and connect with the wider world of business – so everyone is a winner, with the best talents being rewarded for their innovative business ideas and plans,” Namaya Mbikusita-Lewanika, Nyamuka Zambia Manager, explained.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, who was the guest of honour, expressed enthusiasm at Nyamuka Zambia’s contributions to developing a network of business heroes.
“With a growing population of entrepreneurs that will add value to expanding the economy, Nyamuka Zambia deserves the commendation of all of us for its work in supporting start-ups and innovative businesses,” she said.
Alongside Musanshi Chiluba on the winners’ podium were four other finalists who secured enhanced prizes from K125,000 to K200,000. These were Bernard Kamweneshe, 56, who won the Zanaco Prize for Business Innovation for expansion of his education publishing business; Andrew Nguvu, 25, for a business to commercialise village chicken; Peter Nawa, 30, for a publishing service for authors; and Lungowe Situmbeko, 35, for her plan to develop moringa leaf powder products. In addition, two prizes for promoting good nutrition sponsored by the SUN Business Network were won by Epini Shitambuli,for her plan for cage fish farming and Katongo Kabwe for his plan to produce oil from groundnuts.
Applications for the competition were launched on March 10 with 658 budding businessmen and women all hoping to win the K250,000 top prize, along with runner-up prizes and support to bring their concepts to life.
The Barclays-sponsored Nyamuka Zambia is one of four components under the Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ), funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
For more information, visit www.nyamukazambia.com