Our entrepreneur this week could not imagine herself doing anything outside her passion for Fashion. So, she thought about the best ways to generate an income from her passion. She heard about the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship programme and in her words, “it brought her business to life.”
This week on Winning Wednesday, we have Byenda from Zambia and she’s taking over the Zambian Fashion industry
TEF: What stirred you into the Zambian Fashion industry?
Byenda Nkwanda: My business stemmed from a passion that i have always had for fashion designing since I was a child. Fast forward to some years and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life, career wise, but focusing on my passion. You know, I want to create a long standing change on my continent, its economy and the outlook on creativity in general. I want to do more than just make money, i want create a positive impact that will pave a way for others today and future generations in Africa.
TEF: How has participating in the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme helped your business and you as a person?
BN: Participating in the programme is essentially what brought this business to life! All I had was an idea but the programme gave the resources, the knowledge and confidence to seriously take on the business. As an individual, TEF Entrepreneurship Programme changed me entirely. I now have an eye for opportunity, I seek solutions before I register complaint in any way, I am more confident. The most important thing I have learnt since I joined the foundation is not to take failure so personally. It is my biggest motivation now.
TEF: How does your company help the community where it is located?
BN: We purchase all our production materials from local startups : supporting local businesses. We also intend to employ young people, train them through the different jobs in our industry and empower them with skills that they may apply even when they eventually leave our business.
TEF: What was the feeling like in being selected to participate in this programme by TEF?
BN: The feeling of being selected among 1,000 African entrepreneurs is PRICELESS. In our selection year (2015), there were about 20, 000 applicants so you can imagine my excitement being one of the finalists. I still get chills remembering it all. It was such an honourable experience.
TEF: How do you rate the quality of the networking/collaborations that have come from being involved in this programme?
BN: On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it an 8. The programme has helped me tremendously in connecting me with fellow entrepreneurs from different parts of the continent which is a great thing for my business. The attention received from other investors has been amazing. Being associated with the Foundation has given us great credibility as individuals and a businesses too.