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Entrepreneurship Advice from the King of Kabwe

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Lelemba Phiri

Chief Communications Officer at Zoona
Passionate about Zoona's impact!

Latest posts by Lelemba Phiri (see all)

At Zoona, we use mobile technology to provide financial services to people when they need them most – so that communities can thrive. We do this by partnering with and investing in emerging entrepreneurs.

There is an incredible amount of untapped entrepreneurial potential in Africa, and at Zoona, we’re privileged to help unleash its impact.

We have had several success stories so far (WATCH: Misozi and the Girl Effect) – and it keeps us motivated to see the ongoing change that technology can help unleash.

A few weeks ago, we had one such success story visit us at the Zoona offices in Cape Town. Paul Katumbi (the “King of Kabwe”) is one of Zoona’s most successful Agents in Zambia.

He joined Zoona as a 29-year-old in 2011. He started with a single Zoona outlet in the quiet Zambian town of Kabwe. Today, at the age of 34, Paul owns 20 outlets all over town and employs 21 people.

We make a point of getting our top Agents to Cape Town as often as possible. So when Paul was in the office, I took the opportunity to sit down with him for what is a Zoona staple – a fireside chat interview.

I interviewed him on his journey with Zoona, and the main insights on entrepreneurship that he picked up along the way.

Lelemba interviews the King of Kabwe

Lelemba interviews the King of Kabwe

Here’s a sneak peak of a few of the insights Paul shared.

Insight #1: Invest in your education

Paul shares the story of how, having been orphaned at an early age, he went to live with his aunt in Lusaka. He tells us how he always felt excluded, and how he knew that the only way to make something of himself would be by getting an education.

Insight #2: Take the leap

Paul first worked as a Zoona Teller, but he jumped at the chance of becoming a Zoona Agent, as soon as it presented itself. He took the leap, even though this meant he had to go and set up Zoona’s presence in “ghost town” Kabwe.

Insight #3: Happy customers are your best promoters

In the first week of being in business, not one customer visited Paul’s outlet. He had to take charge of promoting his business – so he started dropping off flyers at Kabwe’s various watering holes. Once he managed to attract and delight his first customer, this individual became an important advocate and promoter of his!

Insight #4: Invest in your people

Today, Paul has 21 employees – including 20 Tellers who process mobile money transactions on his behalf. When he noticed that he was having repeated shortages at his outlets – his response was to invest in his people. He gave them a share of the business’ proceeds and encouraged good performance with bonuses. The result was that Teller fraud became a thing of the past.

Insight #5: Don’t get comfortable

Paul shares the story of his early success. His first outlet was booming, so Zoona helped him open a second one. At this stage, Paul felt that he “had arrived”, now that he could afford to buy himself an expensive pair of shoes. He shares how (Zoona Co-Founder) Brad Magrath, inspired him not to get comfortable – but to keep pushing to reach the next level. Today, Paul has 20 outlets and is referred to by many as a Kabwe “tycoon”, or as the “King of Kabwe”.

It was a pleasure having Paul in Cape Town, I look forward to catching up with him again soon!

The video from our chat is embedded below, and it’s well worth watching!

Categories: Blog

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1 Comment

  1. Wow, interesting.

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