YOUTH, Sport and Child Development Minister Hon. Emmanuel Mulenga took advantage of the International Youth Day Commemorations in Lusaka to share his experience in entrepreneurship and how he survived after his father retired from work.
Addressing over 200 young people who had gathered at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Center on Tuesday morning to commemorate International Youth Day under the theme; “Transforming Education”, the minister indicated that he started doing business at the age of 14 while in Grade 9.
The full to capacity conference room was quite as the minister tutored young people on how they can be their own boss and make money.
“When I finished my Grade 12, I had never worked for any company in Zambia until I became a Member of Parliament. I started my own business when I was 14 years, I used to pay my school fees, I used to buy my own clothes until I completed school. I sponsored myself to go to the university in South Africa (from my business which I started in Grade 9) because I believed I can be my own boss, employ others and create wealth. So I encourage all of you here to be entrepreneurs and be your own boss,” he told the much-paying attention gathering.
“Let me tell you how it all started. When my father retired (while in Grade 9 at the age of 14) he gave each and every one of us (children) money to buy clothes. But I did not buy the clothes. What I did was that I went to my mother and told her I want to start a business. So, I bought 50 chicks and two bags of feed. I needed five bags of feed so my mother helped me with the balance (three). I started with 50 chicks, the number grew to 75, then to 150, 200 until my mother’s compound could not accommodate more chicks.”
At this point, Hon Mulenga indicated that he diversified the business and started the clothing business.
“While at school, I started ordering clothes from Harare (Zimbabwe) and sale them here in Zambia. But someone here may ask how I was managing considering that I had classes to attend, well, I could start off on Friday after school, jump on a bus to Lusaka by 22hrs am in Lusaka. Jump on a bus to Harare that was starting off at midnight, by 12hrs (Saturday) I will be in Harare, buy whatever I needed. By 22hrs I would jump on a bus back to Lusaka by 12hrs I will be in Lusaka, before the end of the day (Sunday) I will be back in Ndola (crowd claps)…. It’s all about determination and what you want to achieve in life”, he said.
The Ndola Central Member of Parliament further indicated that he also ventured in the computer business which was also doing fine.
“I then became a politician and was lucky that I was employed by you the people of Zambia after I was elected MP. I am ready to work for you more especially the young people because what youths of this country are saying is that ‘Nothing for us, without us’. I thank you,” he said while leaving the podium to take his seat.