Lukonga Lindunda is the co-founder and executive director of BongoHive, a Zambian technology and innovation hub based in the country’s capital, Lusaka.
1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
It is always how to find the best talent that helps us achieve our goals within the means that we currently have. I believe in building relationships with team members as early as possible, winning their trust and helping them achieve their personal goals in the process of achieving the organisation’s objectives.
Our work involves dealing with people every day. Having a super positive team spirit goes a long way in creating value for our clientele.
2. Which business achievement are you most proud of?
I tie-in our business achievements to the people who benefit from them. I truly believe success is validated when people’s lives are changed due to the impact of our work. I am always happy seeing entrepreneurs start, grow – and even receive investment in some cases – create employment, and make a difference in their spheres of influence.
I am in the business of changing lives – and when that happens, it makes me super proud.
3. Describe your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
I used to be the intelligent, shy kid in school. I still am quite the introvert but have developed ways to manage this since I have to be the face of the organisation. My temperament gives me the opportunity to remain analytical and detailed.
Acknowledging this, I have made sure to hire people who are not like me. I believe in leading from where I am and that way I am content with who I am as a person, but proactive enough to surround myself with people who complement me.
4. Which popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
That you need to develop a business plan before you do anything.
There is a notion that you need to have things figured out before you even start. My whole entrepreneurship journey – and what we always advise our entrepreneurs – is always have a minimum viable product and, in practice, not to fear failure. We learn the most from stepping out, trying and failing.
5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you got started?
I wish I knew that being an entrepreneur means committing 110% to an idea and being able to pivot at a moment’s notice.
In the early stages, I used to get stuck in the disappointment of seeing our ideas not work out the way we planned. I wish I had moved past the disappointment quickly, knowing there were many more opportunities – if only I was willing to change.
6. Name a business opportunity you would still like to pursue.
Africa is a land full of promise and opportunity. One area I always see opportunity in is agro-processing. We have a growing middle class, our way of consuming food products has evolved, and you can never go wrong with food. Adding value – processing and packaging – our local products is an opportunity that many are not exploiting.
The journey so far’ series is edited by Wilhelmina Maboja, with copy editing by Xolisa Phillip, and content production by Justin Probyn and Nelly Murungi.