“Zambian Millionaire who turned a USD$300 investment into USD$30 Million”
Name: Benjamin Katubiya
CEO/Founder: Buk Holdings Ltd
▪︎ National Diploma in Marketing from Copperbelt University
▪︎ Masters of Science degree in Marketing in Salford University
The company is a worth over USD$30 Million and employs over 100
He was born on 10th june 1966 and grew up in an impoverished environment in Ndola’s Twapya township. He was not born into a privileged family. His father, Benjamin Katubiya, was a tailor who did not earn much and struggled to raise his 10 children.
He used to sell stuff in order to supplement the family’s income.From a young age, he delighted in selling things. Sometimes he made toy cars out of wire which he sold to his friends.
In his teens, he had mastered how car engines worked and was able to repair them. He also once worked as a bus conductor.
Despite the hardships he grew up in, he dreamt of becoming a doctor or engineer.
1986, he completed his secondary school education from Chiwala Secondary School.
While in his final year of high School, he had to raise money to pay for his own exam fees.
In 1988, he enrolled at the Copperbelt University to pursue a diploma in marketing.
While at the university, to raise upkeep money, he traded imported imitation jewels, handbags and nail polish from South Africa which he sold to female students at the Copperbelt University on pay-slow basis
In 1991, he completed his tertiary education obtaining a diploma in marketing at Copperbelt University. He applied for a job in various companies without success. After disappointing response, he packed his diploma to pursue business.He credits his failure to find formal employment that opened the door to his business career.
In 1992, he founded a company called MarketLinks agencies. It traded in imported heavy duty truck parts.
To get the initial capital for his business, he sold a music system for US$300. He had bought the cassette player from an Indian diplomat who was leaving the country at a give away price. He used the money to buy door hinges from Tanzania to supply a furniture company in Ndola, although he decided thereafter he would not trade in hardware, but car spares.
He used his aunts salon at Lusaka town centre market as a sales point to meet his customers and to get orders. He usually delivered orders for Peugeot and Leyland parts by public buses. He could not afford a taxi fare back then.
He recalls that when he was trading at Town Centre, some of his colleagues from university would laugh at him. He remained focused because of the Big Dream he had to become Great.
In 1997, he established BUK Truck Parts Limited with the first outlet at Simoson building in Lusaka. BUK stands for Benjamin Upendo Katubiya. Upendo being his wife’s name and It is a complete one stop centre for genuine leading European and American brand truck parts. It has grown into a formidable force as the major supplier European and American truck spares and accessories.
It has since grown into six outlets in the Copperbelt, Eastern and Southern provinces, with two outlets in Lusaka. An international outlet in the Democratic Republic of Congo was shut down due to corruption that made business unprofitable. However, the company still has a number of Congolese on its customer list.
It currently employs over 100 people, has also penetrated the market in Malawi and Tanzania.
The company also has two other divisions BUK Mining and BUK Transport and Logistics . The company has invested about US$5 million into a quarry in Southern Province and there are plans to develop that business into a secondary industry by manufacturing agriculture lime and granite tiles.
The business is built on honesty. We don’t want to make short-cuts in our business, he says
Buk Holdings Ltd is a company involved in retailing heavy duty truck spares, quarry mining, transport and logistics across Zambia.
In 2011, BUK Truck Parts was nominated for the prestigious Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.
In 2016, he launched a book titled “The Winning Entrepreneur.” The book answers the following questions
1) Why you Must go into Business
2) Why Business must start with a Vision
3) How your business must interact with the many stakeholders in the environment.
4) What really causes Enterprise failure in Zambia.
5) Why Integrity and Fair Dealing is an Asset.
You can get the book from Mount Zion Christian Centre book store
He attributes the success of his business to God and calls it a God-centred business
“To tell you the truth, God is at the centre of this business. The word of God has taught me to be disciplined financially and in other spheres, and has given me direction “he says.
Among the important books on his large table is a John Maxwell Leadership Bible. It is his manual for running his business. I get leadership thoughts from the bible, he says.
▪︎ 2009 “Marketing Personality of the Year” in Zambia by Zambia Institute of Marketing
▪︎ 2009 BUK Truck Parts Ltd recognised as the ‘Best SME ‘ of the year
▪︎ 2010 BUK Truck Parts Ltd., Emerged among the “TOP 15 CQMPANIES” for Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship
▪︎ 2012 American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia Chairman- Business Linkage Committee.
▪︎ 2014 Recognised by the USA Embassy as a “Mentor” in Zambia for the Mandela Washington Fellow
What advice would you give an African trying to pursue their dreams despite the conditions around them?
“Have a dream, remain focused, seize the moment, start somewhere and put your trust in God and let him lead you in the path of life.
Do you know the science of waves?
They come in series and yet there is a moment when the tides are low and waves cease. That is life. No one should think of quitting just because one has faced a storm or waves of storms. Keep on matching. Psalms 23:4…the Bible says, “Yea, though I walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.
Point here is, “WALKING THROUGH the valley of SHADOW OF DEATH”….Walking and NOT Stopping. Secondly, it is a Shadow of death and not Actual death.
Keep matching; storms or challenges are simply setbacks and not failure. They are to strengthen you and not break you. How you respond to trials in your life matters a great deal.”
Business contact details
Contact Number: 0211845792
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