Dustin McBride, who has a degree in International Business, is the President and Co-Founder of Zambikes, a social business creating jobs in Zambia. Here, he talks to us about religion, bicycles and making "crazy" business plans with the help of friends along the way.
Four Questions with Dustin McBride
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
It all goes back to Vaughn and I going on a mission’s trip through our University (APU) in 2004. We went with 10 other students and had a life-changing experience in and around Zambia. After returning from our 5-week trip, we started to talk about if there’s something we could do that would generate more opportunity in Zambia. There was so much potential there, but a lack of opportunity. After much thought, discussion, and prayer, Vaughn came to me and said, "God told me we need to do bikes in Africa." I laughed. Neither of us rode bikes at the time, besides my Huffy from 1998! We were both footballers (soccer players) and studied International Business in school. And so the adventure began back in 2005 with brainstorming, planning, making business plans and continued prayer. After help from friends, professors and family, we had a crazy business plan that would take us to Zambia for a long time (4 years already). With God’s favor, we were able to raise enough funds to launch the company in Zambia, Zambikes in August 2007. We partnered with two Zambian Directors, Gershom Sikaala and Mwewa Chikamba, who are still involved with the business today.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
We joined this industry because that was the need we saw. We don’t believe we should force any product on a nation, we assessed the situation and continue to assess the market and situation to help lead us in the products we create and sell in Zambia. Bicycles help create jobs and save lives in Zambia. Coming from the States we just saw them as means of sport, but now we see how life-changing bicycles are.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
I’m inspired daily by my relationship with God and the Holy Spirit. There are times when I think, "Why am I even here? Am I even helping?" And many times when I’m going through these doubts, I’ll pray about it and God will give me a peace and confidence in what we are doing and He will show me the amazing impact and effect we are having not only in Zambia but back home, too! With our team in Zambia, when we face trials, our Zambian managers will always look to God and will get the team together and pray for the issues at hand. We have seen God’s favor for the entire venture and I thank Him for that every day.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I guess my answer would be similar to the above question. To reset myself and refresh myself, I usually will get up early in the morning and have some quiet time to myself and with God. I’ll read, listen to music, pray, and journal to help clear my thoughts, stay inspired and creative. Also, I play soccer and ride my bike 3 to 4 times a week to keep in shape and that helps clear my mind as well when I’m overwhelmed.
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