According to TechRadar.com, Industry 4.0 is neither a new form of technology, nor a business ideal, but in fact, a revamped approach inspired by new advancements to achieve results that weren’t possible 10 years ago. What makes a great tech and entrepreneurship ecosystem? The Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem mapping and analysis exercise facilitated by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in partnership with ZICTA, made to highly fast track tech efforts to support the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa, reported opportunities in Zambia, there is a need for training and coaching opportunities to provide soft skills and knowledge such as pitching and getting commercial traction; linkages for entrepreneurs to the international market; and connections to funding opportunities and investors; and, support to mentees. NyamukaAfrica a tech and innovation program in Zambia responded to some of the challenges highlighted in the ecosystem mapping report by organizing one of the biggest online events, the Lusaka Startup Week, the first of its kind in Africa’s Southern Region in Lusaka, Zambia. The LSW was a five-day celebration held from 24th – 28th August, 2020 that built momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship communities. Its main goal was to make entrepreneurship more attainable for all by creating valuable content, fostering an engaged community, and showcasing the entrepreneurs that make Zambia the best place in which to build a community. The Lusaka Startup Week was supported by the International Trade Centre and other global partners like Ambitious Africa and TechStars among many others. LWS which collaborated with the Zambian government through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and ICTAZ (Information and Communication Technology Association of Zambia) filled up some of these gaps by linking startup founders to investors, university students to mentors, and the Zambian government to the entire ecosystem. An exciting segment called the ‘Next Generation Bootcamp’ brought together youth geniuses from all over the world to share their success stories and challenges faced on their journey especially amidst COVID. Most of the moderators were university students from which 90% were female. Some of the speakers in attendance were 15-year-old Krishna from India who is a Google Ux designer; Likonga Lindunda, Co-Founder of Bongo Hive Zambia; Violeta Bulc, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia; Mara Zhanet Michelo, CEO and Founder of Jacaranda Hub; Milou van Bruggen, Associate Expert at ITC, Francis Mumbi, Stanbic Bank; Bwalya Chisulo, Spokesperson for ICTAZ and Gabriella Marcelija, CEO and Co-founder of Sirius. Expectations were high and outcomes clearly defined. The end game was to bring together ecosystem builders from all across the world who must coordinate and engage with each other to create a better global ecosystem.
The future hopes are for the ecosystem builders to be able to engage the government as a partner in order to advise the government on the introduction of policies that will be vital to the long-term growth of the economy. The International Trade Centre is working together with WEAC to organize an online panel at the end of September, where the opportunities of the Zambian entrepreneurship ecosystem will be discussed and how we can transform the opportunities into actions: stay tuned! In the words of Nancy Katyal, Founder, and CEO of The Perfect You, during her Masterclass at the Lusaka Startup Week: ‘‘Your intentions determine your actions’’.