India has helped Zimbabwe set up a mentoring programme to help small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) operate successful businesses.
BY REJOICE CHINGWARU
The mentoring programme, Virtual Business Incubation, was launched by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the SME International Expo held last week.
Mnangagwa said the programme would teach players in the SMEs field on how to sustain and unleash the full potential of their businesses.
“Virtual Business Incubation for SMEs grooms businesses through a mentoring programme that provides business planning, marketing, production, processing, quality assurance, and product distribution, effective costing and reporting on performance,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s SMEs account for about 70% of the country’s economic activities and more than 50% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Mnangagwa said the initiative came up after the realisation that most SMEs were run by people not well-versed with business practices.
“Most small businesses are operated by first generation entrepreneurs, who hardly have had previous training in business resulting in poor management,” he said.
Mnangagwa said the government expected the mentoring programme to address some issues hindering the growth of SMEs and the economy.
“As government, we expect the Virtual Business Incubation to address a number of issues that include unemployment, high levels of mortality in SMEs, rural industrialisation, and interaction between entrepreneurs and research institutes,” he said.
SME Business Link director, Phillip Chichoni applauded the mentoring programme, saying it was important to teach entrepreneurs how to handle business. He said the programme has to reach the people it intended to serve.
“This is a good programme and it will help our SMEs, but for this programme to be a success, it has to reach the
people because many programmes like these have been set up before, but entrepreneurs did not have access to it,” he said.