A storm is coming. A venture capital storm. For sometime now, we have been investigating the footprint left behind by venture capital in Zambia. Few known names appear associated with scarce deals and are often not mentioned in Zambian financial folklore. Until now.
FiZ has been in discussions with Bibusa Wissemann whose ambitions to bring Venture Capital to Zambia in a different way must be commended. Pundits will argue that we do have a few VC houses however, Bibi has opted for the capacity building route by collaborating with WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management of Germany to bring together in Zambia a conference that will change the course of venture capital in Zambia.
An ardent believer is alternative finance, Bibusa’s Sensxafrica Conference will bring some of Germany’s top academics with VCs with deep pockets who will be keen to have ask the proverbial questions any investor has of Zambian entrepreneurs “what value creating opportunities exist in Zambia?”
Of course, like everything else in life, there are pros and cons to venture capital. To begin with, this route of financing is likely to have you dilute some of the ownership of the company as you sell shares to stakeholders. It also means, depending on your agreement, that there is a third party who needs to be consulted before making major decisions. However, the modern VC invests in the idea and will often be hands off in terms of managing the firm they invest in. So if power and control is what you are after, this is one option that must be well thought of.
On the bright side, VC allows your company to receive funding without worrying about paying money back through monthly loan repayments (especially considering the current interest rates on the market). Another advantage is most VC’s invest in business areas that they are familiar with and so you can expect a wealth of knowledge to back your venture as well as vital extensive business links and connections that venture capitalists have made. Remember these people give you money and want you to win as much as possible because when you win, they win too. So they are likely to take an active advisory role in ensuring the success of your business.
We have argued over the course of our existence that value continues to be created despite a macro economic environment that continues to evolve. Furthermore, with economic fundamentals now reaching steady state, there is no better time for VCs to take the long view on Zambia. However, it is not without caution. Every VC is not always entirely driven by the allure of the return. Fiscal discipline is primary to the investor tool kit that many VCs will be coming with. Data will be a product they will be willing to pay a premium for. Enter market research.
Furthermore, at the heart of the VCs desire to create value is the people they invest in. Zambia possesses talented and skillful entrepreneurs who have been waiting for their big break. Engagement of the VC is inevitably based on the desire to achieve economies of opportunity. Whether it’s achieving economies of scale or scope, the timing of the VC investment is critical to the life of the firm that they invest in.
FiZ encourages all that have signed up for the conference to dust those business plans and ensure their financial projections are clear and realistic. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and FiZ will be there to see Venture Capital take center stage in the Zambian economy
There is a total of 24 guest speakers and panelists who will be sharing over the 3 day conference. The conference also boasts a masterclass for interested parties for further enlighten and expand on all issues pertaining to venture capital. There will also be an all-women’s panel to allow us to peer into the minds of the female entrepreneur and venture capitalists. This will provide some useful insights and tips for the female audience in this currently male dominated field. Therefore, there is much to expect from this conference.
Sensxafrica is driven by 5 main themes and responsibilities, education management, entrepreneur empowerment, women and youth empowerment and fostering investment. The workshops they provide will teach comprehensive and practical entrepreneurial and financial skills to participants. There is also an amazing opportunity to do extensive networking and gain access to the right knowledge which are the most important parts of being an African entrepreneur. The networking events often provide the most important needs of the participants.
The SensXPitch will give young entrepreneurs a platform to present their ideas to an international jury of investors. SensXFellowship provides entrepreneurs with the international network and attention they need to promote their ideas
The event promises to be valuable in more ways than one. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the panelists and speakers is substantial. The various industry giants and experts are sure to enrich you in one way or another.
The guest of honor at this event is Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe who is Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, although she barely needs an introduction. Her highly entrepreneurial and professional track record speaks volumes for itself.
Dr Justina Mutale is the Founder & President of the Justina Mutale Foundation and its Scholarship Programme for underprivileged young women and girls. She is also Global Envoy for Gender Equality and Spokesperson of the International Women’s Think Tank. Dr Mutale sits on the Board of the World Leaders Forum and is a civil society delegate and speaker to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and the African Union
Dr Ladislas Prosper Agbesi of Benin, Ghana is the founder Lash Group which was formed 17 years ago in order to further development of the continent. Today, Lash Consult Investments has five worldwide offices in Benin, Ghana, Germany, United States and South Africa. In West Africa, Lash Group is into investment finance and consultancy.
Professor Frenkel worked as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the European Commission. He is actively involved in executive education both in Germany and in the United States. For many years, he was responsible for the economics education of young German diplomats with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Larisa Miller is a Business Development Manager for Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan; Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Alliances for Global Sustainability, a company owned by Her Highness; and, co-chairman of Beacon of Hope UAE, a non-for-profit social enterprise founded and under the patronage of Sheikha Shamma. In all of her ventures, both business and not-for-profit, making an impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals is her paramount focus.
These are just a few of the names we can mention. However, FiZ would like to commend the efforts made by Sensxafrica to provide alternative financing which would foster more investment in Zambia and hope some of our readers will be in attendance at the event.
We look forward to seeing you there!