THE second edition of the CBZ International Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Indaba kicked-off yesterday in Bulawayo with more than 500 delegates attending.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The event, hosted by Zimbabwe’s largest banking group, CBZ Holdings, brings together local, regional and international stakeholders, business leaders, national and international experts relevant to the growth of the SMEs sector.
Foreign representation comes from India, South Africa, Malawi and Namibia.
It provides a unique platform dedicated to creating awareness of the challenges faced by SMEs and provide solutions to the challenges highlighted through presentations and discussions with both local and international experts.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of the indaba, CBZ Holdings acting group chief executive officer, Peter Zimunya, said the main objective of the indaba was to give SMEs fora where they could exchange ideas and identify smart partners to work with as well as identify opportunities to exploit.
“We also want to make sure that we enhance the value which accrues with the SMEs. We have talked about the creation of SMEs, we have talked about growing them but we also need to talk about creating residual value for them, so to do that they need smart partners,” Zimunya said.
“We want to look at the value chain, who serves SMEs, who do they deal with, how do they also benefit from those partnerships.”
SMEs in Zimbabwe face challenges related to financial constraints, less strategic thinking, lack of access to relevant markets, lower standardisation and in some instances a weak legal and regulatory structure.
Zimunya said the quantum of investment for the indaba is close to $200 000.
“We think it is worth it because SMEs are a key driver for economic development and I think even if you check the government is looking at formalisation of about 15 000 SMEs. This is a good start. There are people with brilliant ideas here,” he said.
Giving his welcome remarks, Zimunya said this year they haddecided to include business to business meeting segment to provide a platform for profiling businesses and products potential partners, among other objectives.
“Broadly, our desire is that through this focused interaction, we would be able to provide a platform for profiling businesses and products potential partners, sharing knowledge and experience and identify partners and alliances, identify ways of growing existing and entering new markets,” he said.
“The indaba is meant to enhance the growth potential of our individual and collective businesses,” he said.
CBZ Bank has been at the forefront of supporting the growth of the SMEs sector and has won awards for supporting budding businesses.