Govt launches $2m fund for SMEs

THE Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development has set up a $2 million fund to support 100 Small to Medium Enterprises across the country.

Each province in the country will identify 10 sustainable projects that deserve to be funded, as they are supposed to pay back the loan.

Once chosen and if the SMEs demonstrate their projects are viable, they will form part of the ministry’s 100 day achievement that will be presented before President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Addressing a group of SMES at the Brethren in Christ Church in Bulawayo Thursday, Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, described the programme as highly beneficial to both her ministry and the participants.

She said Mnangagwa’s administration was determined to make sure no minister slept on duty and in turn ministers were supposed to present ‘touchable’ projects executed within their first 100 days since assuming office.

“My ministry set aside $2 million to support 10 viable projects from SMEs from each province. Provincial officers are supposed to identify 10 SMEs from each province, which they will grow in a hundred days. I urge SMEs to make sure their business become part of the first 10, as we are running forward,” Nyoni said.

“The provincial team will at least select 20 projects, some will be on the waiting list, in case some fall by the wayside, which is why you have to work hard”.

The minister noted that the theme of this project was ‘Linkage Programme for Growth,’ which came with conditions that had to be fulfilled by potential participants.

“You have to tell the ministry who you are, your name and brand of your business. We don’t want to hype projects but we want to talk facts and figures, so firstly you have to name your company, register your company. My officers will assist and within a week after paying $25 your company will be registered.

“Secondly, you have to say the sector you are in whether in retail, manufacturing or any other.

“Thirdly, say what kind of linkage you are seeking, whether you want to supply or produce and fourthly, tell us who you want to link with. You must be able to provide more detail of the type of linkage that you want, how much it will cost and why link up in the first place,” she explained.

Examples of projects that needed financial support such as Justin clothing, Biscuit Man, Archer clothing, Treggers and Viva Marketing were listed and the Minister said their workmanship should be emulated.

“There is a woman in Matabeleland North who sews school uniforms. She has been contacted by eight schools to provide uniforms for schoolchildren but she has no machinery or staff to meet that demand. As the ministry we are willing to support her acquire machinery. If on average,  she sews 300 uniforms at $10 each, she will make $3 000. If she sells these uniforms to the eight schools she will make $24 000. From the $24 000, she will be able to pay off the ministry loan, say $12 000 used to buy the machine and will remain with roughly $10 000 to herself after taking care of some costs,” she explained.

Nyoni said such initiatives could boost the production of local SMEs business.

She challenged the clothing manufactures to create demand locally, supply flea markets and do away with importation of low quality goods.

“Many people go to South Africa to import clothes, some travel to the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe in Harare to source for forex then go to China. We want that to stop and we must commit ourselves. The clothing manufacturers can receive support and combined can create a clothing line, which they can sell to flea markets, we will support you to do that. For example, at Mupedzanhamo flea market in Harare those clothes are sewn locally.

“The same can happen with Kango (a product of Tregger), we have duplicate products which are not as strong as yours. Biscuit Man is almost closing due to shortage of flour, we can liaise with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, commit to support you with flour and the shop sells in the market,” Nyoni said.

She added that the ministry would also support those who make traditional gear.

“Chiefs in Matabeleland North and South said they wanted to revive their culture. We have a fund for that to support women who make imgoqo, fashion accessories that sell and there is a market globally. After 100 days, I have to report to the president and say this is what the ministry has done,” Minister Nyoni said.

The gathering was attended by Bulawayo Metropolitan Minister of State, Judith Ncube, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Raj Modi and officials from the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.


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