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Training youths to run businesses

NKANDU Beltz (right) with English business magnate, investor and philanthropist Richard Branson.

MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
HER mission to the country was simple – to establish a leadership and management firm that will equip the youths with knowledge to successfully establish and run their own businesses.

Nkandu Beltz, 34, based in Australia, is a motivational speaker, author and social-change maker who has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 15 years.
There is certainly enough reason why you should take interest in Nkandu’s leadership and management firm.
For a start, she is said to be passionate about youth development and helping others.
Her website describes her as being devoted to making a lasting change and helping people to live a better life.
Nkandu, who has a background in journalism and news writing having worked for the Ngami Times in Botswana, trained as a peer educator with the Botswana National Youth Council, worked with Save the Children Australia and was an executive member with the United Nations Association of Western Australia.
Nkandu initially started out as a girl-child advocate in Zambia, advocating for girl-child rights.
Largely as a result of her social pioneering project, she has won a number of public recognitions in Australia including the Pinnacle Professional of the Year 2013; Women in Leadership Victoria AMA 2014; African Pioneer of the Year 2015; African Australian of the Year 2016; and Young Leaders Commissioner G200 2016.
The focus for her now is the Centre for Leadership and Management, a self-confidence development centre that is dedicated to helping people unleash their potential and live a balanced life through personal development workshops, which she founded this year.
“Am delighted to have this project in Zambia being the land where I was born. This agency that I plan to set up is for the youth, especially those who plan to start their own businesses,” she said in an interview in Lusaka last week.
“It will help them to acquire knowledge on business development and skills and this will allow them to run their own businesses effectively.”
For a start, the Leadership and Management Centre she is setting up will only be centred in Lusaka. Later, and depending on the response from the local youths, she will consider creating another centre in Ndola on the Copperbelt.
“I will firstly be doing this in Lusaka and soon after I observe how the response can be, I will go on to develop another centre in Ndola. I would like to urge the youths to use this incentive for their own benefit because it will not only enhance their knowledge in business, it will also open up their minds to new avenues,” she says.
“For example, if after establishing a business, you decide to sell it out, the agency will be providing good strategies to do so, and, if in case you want to maintain and grow your businesses, that knowledge will also be at their disposal.”
Back in Australia, Nkandu is running a similar agency which she says is doing well.
“Am not doing this for the first time, I have been doing it in Australia where I have lived most of my life. The response there is tremendous and I know if the youth embrace this, their aspirations in business will begin to change,” she says.
As an African child born in a remote area in Katete, Nkandu’s journey to success is inspirational.
Since the age of ten, Nkandu’s aspirations have always bordered on bringing social-change to any community or person she comes across.
She always found fulfilment in changing people’s negative perceptions about life.
Nkandu feels that, nothing below the sun is unattainable as long as one sets their mind to it.
“I believe that any person can be what they want to be in life. Certain times, people just need to be encouraged to reach out for their dreams,” she says.
Despite coming from a simple and humble background, Nkandu made sure to utilise the opportunities life presented her.
This included her talent of communicating with people effectively. Nkandu believes that her good communication skills have helped her climb the ladder to get to where she is today.
She is convinced that talent is an effective stepping stone that needs to be utilised once discovered.
According to her, if talent is not utilised, God can simply take it away from people.
“I love to think I have good communication skills and for me, I was born with this talent. Ever since I discovered it, I have been using it to realise my dreams,” she says. “I find passion in helping others discover who they really are and I always encourage them to explore what they envision in their minds because it is in the mind that everything starts.”
In 2015, Nkandu was named among the 20 best speakers on mind and its potential at a conference dubbed “Happiness and Its Cause”, the largest conference on finding one’s happiness in Australia.
She goes around the world encouraging people to think outside the box and realise their potential. However, Nkandu does not like to attribute her success to the numbers of awards she has won in the past. Rather, she likes to base her success on the positive impacts her work has on the people she meets.
“I speak most of the time for a living and that has come with a lot of success. I have even won some awards because of it but for me, I get a lot of fulfilment when I see how people’s lives are changing with the work I do,” she says.
From childhood, Nkandu has always been mobile. She could relocate from place to place with her family due to her father’s job which demanded him to move.
In Zambia, Nkandu attended a number of primary schools including Masala Primary School in Ndola, Woodlands Basic in Lusaka and Mongu Primary School in Mongu. But when her father lost his job when the company he was working for closed down, the family had to move to Botswana, where Nkandu’s knack of talking on various issues manifested.
She became a peer educator raising awareness on issues affecting the youth.
She later returned back in Zambia after secondary school to study journalism at the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka. But while at Evelyn Hone, Nkandu encountered another opportunity to travel which made her drop her journalism course. She was to later complete it at the London School of Journalism.
Her exposure to different communities coupled with her natural good communication skills have made her to become the woman she is today.
Back in Australia, Nkandu helps young people opting to become self-employed to start their own businesses while equipping them with the knowledge to succeed in that line of work.
Nkandu is also passionate about so many other things. She is running several other programmes in Australia to do with the youth.
She has the ‘High T programme’ which looks into building the self-esteem of young adolescent girls by helping them discover who they are.
“The age between nine and thirteen is critical because it is the time when self-esteem is being built. The High T programme tries to instil confidence in girls through inspiring them to unleash their potential and make the best out of life,” she says.
Nkandu is also into cultural consultancy where she acts as an agent linking African businesses to Australian businesses and vice-versa.
But how does she manage all this especially that she is married with three children.
“I have learnt to prioritise, I like to look at my programmes and see which one I can give much importance to at a particular time but aside from that, I have a brilliant team that takes care of things and helps to make it easier and I make sure I create time with my family as well,” she says.

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