Intelligent Crowd at May Startup Hour, Said Hon. Miles Sampa

Startup Hour

Did anybody record that?!

This time around, the May Startup Hour was graced by Honourable Miles Sampa. The Honourable is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Matero Constituency in Lusaka and the Deputy Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry.


Shifted away from its usual venue at Smuggler’s Inn, Startup Hour took place at Protea Hotel Lusaka at the Arcades Complex this month. This had interesting effects on the crowd and also generated some even more interesting reactions which I will discuss later in this article.

Firstly, I’d like to tackle Hon. Miles Sampa’s blurb. To make it clear, a blurb is a short description that praises something. The moment that almost everybody wished they had a tape recorder was at the opening of the blurb. Hon. Sampa said that he is not used to speaking to such an intelligent crowd. Had the voice transcript been captured, it could have easily translated to something viral.

Anyway, the Honourable did say some very motivational things to entrepreneurs and the audience at large. His “how to get rich” advice was that if each person could produce a product and sell it for only US$1 to 1 million people then that person would be a millionaire. Solid. Furthermore, there are no shortcuts to success; therefore, obeying the law is very significant.

Hon. Sampa said that understanding the Zambian culture is a recipe for success to anyone starting up or already established in business. However,  seeking solutions from outside experts can also be effective. Hon. Sampa used an example of how his office got a logo within 2 hours from Pakistani graphic designers when his office was re-branding a football club from Matero constituency under a very tight deadline. A lesson to learn from this is the significance of having online services. I hope this means that e-commerce is finally getting the attention it deserves in Zambia.

And then disappointingly, when people were just about warming up, Hon. Sampa had to dash off to another appointment at the University of Zambia (UNZA). This was unconventional for the event since the featured guest usually sticks around for an hour or two to network with the participants.

The change of venue received 50/50 reactions as I went round the room asking people how they felt about the new venue at Protea Hotel Lusaka. I asked both new participants and returning participants. Interestingly, both groups gave me mixed reactions. There were returning participants who felt Smuggler’s Inn held the networking charm because it has such a laid back environment where as Protea Hotel was more upscale. Alternatively, it was felt that Protea Hotel gave a professional vibe.

My take is that it takes time to adjust to changes whether welcome or unwelcome. It is too soon to tell which venue is the winner. My first impression was that I didn’t like the new venue just because it was unfamiliar. Noticeably the crowd was more dressed up smartly to perhaps fit in the environment. Maybe people will get accustomed and learn that they can be themselves even at Protea Hotel… or not.

Hon Miles Sampa with Start Up Junction co-ordinator Matthew Grollnek
Hon Miles Sampa with Start Up Junction co-ordinator Matthew Grollnek

As always, Startup Hour was a blast though. We don’t joke each time we say that we are looking forward to the next one already. First Wednesday of June, please mark your calendars! If you attended the May Startup Hour and have an opinion about the venue please let us know by commenting. We love feedback! Go to Facebook or Twitter to interact with us!

Image credit: Startup Junction

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