US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote says Zambian entrepreneurs still have an essential role to play in developing the country.

Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit in Lusaka, Tuesday, Ambassador Foote said entrepreneurship created a culture in which innovation and creativity were valued and led to original solutions to life’s challenges.

“The ability to turn an idea into a reality through a small business or new venture is a path to prosperity and empowers people to tackle pressing community and global problems. Entrepreneurs have an essential role to play in this country’s development. Their successful businesses will be a central facet in diversifying Zambia’s economy, an economic goal of the Zambian government. The Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit puts entrepreneurs in the same room as the investors, lenders, business associations, and organisations that serve as resources to SMEs and entrepreneurs. We want Zambia’s entrepreneurs to access tools, capital, networking opportunities, and mentors that can help to take those great business ideas to the next level and beyond,” Ambassador Foote said.

He assured Zambian entrepreneurs of the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting entrepreneurship as a means to stimulate local economic growth, create jobs, and increase prosperity.

“Our commitment to promoting Zambian entrepreneurship does not begin or end today. Since 2015, the U.S. Embassy has worked with business innovation hub BongoHive on an entrepreneurship boot camp series that has intensively challenged entrepreneurs over a six-month period to refine business start-up ideas. We look forward to helping aspiring Zambian female entrepreneurs develop their own business plans, understand how to raise capital, and connect with networks of successful business owners,” he said.

“The U.S. Embassy continues to identify promising young Zambian entrepreneurs to participate in our professional exchange programmes, including the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship this year. Our exchange programmes are a cornerstone of our US-Zambia programmes. You can learn more about exchange programmes and other U.S. Embassy programmes for entrepreneurs at the Embassy information stand here. Zambia has many pioneering entrepreneurs who are ready to take risks, put forth innovative ideas, and follow their dreams of improving their lives and the lives of their communities. However, they need a stable and conducive business climate to get their ideas off the ground.”

Ambassador Foote added that the 2019 Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit was an ideal platform to help entrepreneurs conduct business deals and meet possible lenders, partners and investors.

“This Summit will give you an opportunity to network with potential investors; connect with fellow entrepreneurs and innovators; identify and invest in a good business idea,” said Ambassador Foote.

The Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit has been organised by the U.S. government and other cooperating partners, including WECREATE, the American Chamber of Commerce, Atlas Mara Bank, and Dutch NGO Hivos.