By JIMMY KANZOBYA
“ENTREPRENEURSHIP is not something you do, it is something that you have to become…”
This is something Lusaka Quantity Surveyor Mumba Joshua Manda has come to learn by experience.
Mumba believes that entrepreneurship should not be a type of economic activity people do, but the way people look at life, the way they approach challenges, especially developments that others see as problems.
Mumba, who is in his late 20s, runs his own company – Sky Pillars.
The company is involved in construction of residential and commercial properties, making alterations and renovations or transforming existing structures to suit a client’s needs, and, adding value to such properties.
The company also helps in maintenance works and is involved in property management.
Born in Ndola in 1989, Mumba is the last born in a family of six.
He started school at the tender age of three mainly due to the fact that he had no one to remain with at home.
He later attended Masala Secondary School for his junior secondary education before proceeding to Livingstone where he attended Hillcrest National Technical School.
“I completed my senior secondary school at the age of 16, then went to Copperbelt University (CBU) in the School of Built Environment, in the Department of Construction Economics and Management,” he recalled.
He graduated in 2012 with a Degree in Quantity Survey.
After that, he did consultancy work before a South African contractor employed him for one year and six months.
Later, he transitioned from employment and started his own business.
His number one inspiration is faith in God.
Having been raised by a single mother, Mumba experienced firsthand some of the challenges his mother encountered in looking after him, providing for his needs and sending him to school.
It was from his mother that he learned to believe and trust in God especially during hard times.
“I would see from that environment that even when things were hard, we prayed and saw God coming through over and over again,” he said.
Owing to his strong Christian belief, Mumba dreamed of becoming a pastor.
He was so eager about his dream that even his friends in primary and secondary school, as well as in university, called him a pastor.
Mumba does not look at Christianity as something one does only on Sundays, but rather a type of lifestyle that one lives each and every day.
To him, Christianity means everything one does which should be to the glory of God.
“I always strive to be at the center of God’s will for my life,” he says.
Besides wanting to be a pastor, Mumba also wanted to go into business.
Even when he was in university, he never looked at life from a perspective of what job he would do after graduation, but rather thought of what business he could get into or how to start such a business.
“I’m doing business now, but back then, I would always looked at myself as someone owning my own business and the way I would envision it when I was a kid was that… it would be sort of like having a big office block, like a skyscraper, as the headquarters for my business.
“When I was in my third year at CBU, I told my friends that I will have a company and I will call it Sky Pillars because I have always had this perspective of wanting to reach for the sky and even what I am doing today with those am working with is aiming high,” he said.
Today, Mumba is both a pastor and a husband.
He is running Sky Pillars, his own business, which provides construction services for residential and commercial properties.
In his line of business, Mumba has learned something about being an entrepreneur.
“One thing that sets entrepreneurs apart from every other kind of a person is their ability to persevere. In principle, when you choose not to give up, eventually you will win,” he said.
He learned that principle from a number of experiences in which projects have failed; clients have defaulted in making payments, workers have stolen; etcetera.
He says in as much as all these challenges could be there, the key thing is keeping the faith and not give up.
With Government having decided to effect the industrialization policy, youth empowerment has become a buzz phrase among Government leaders and those in the non-governmental organization (NGO) world.
But even though there has been talk about empowering the youth and giving them opportunities, there has been little action.
“They all talk about it but very few people would actually give chance to a young person to prove that you can do the work simply because being young makes people think that because you are not experienced, you cannot do any work. But when you get the opportunity and begin to execute the work, they start to see the value and worth that you bring to the work,” Mumba said.
Lessons from working as an entrepreneur as well as being a Christian have taught Mumba the principle of the value of seed.
He says life is about seed and harvest, though a lot of people have misinterpreted Bible principle and only teach that if you give more money, you will get more money.
“Whatever a man sows, he rips. It is a principle of seed which means that in terms of everything you are doing, your career, your future, your business; whatever you are doing today, is the seed you are sowing in your life which you are going to harvest tomorrow,” he said.
He advised the youth that they need to realize that life is about seed and harvest, and if they do not like the life they are living now, they should begin to sow the right seed in their skills, dreams, in how they treat other people, how they live their lives, the type of lifestyle they are engaged in and so on.
He said all these things lead to the future which is built on the seeds they are sowing today.
He says before a person begins hoping to change his or her life, that person should first start changing him or herself.
“Everything that happens in your life begins with you; change on the outside begins within. Look at the big picture and not only at the short-lived one; learn to think through your decisions and consider all possible consequences before you act,” he says.
Mumba believes the greatest thing Zambia needs are young people who respect elders, value their personalities, goals, priorities and have respect for life.
He urges the youth to follow their dreams, saying, “The man who fears to follow his heart denies the truth within him…”