Lifeline for small-to-medium enterprises

THE Zimbabwe National Gazelles has launched a programme to support yet-to-be-identified small-to-medium enterprises (SMES) with an annual turnover of $1,2 million into medium-sized entities through intensive business workshops, coaching and mentoring and access to funding and markets.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

The programme is being managed by Kukura Business Accelerator (Pvt) Ltd (KBA), in partnership with its South African partner, Mtiya Dynamics (Pty) Ltd, initiator of the National Gazelles Programme of South Africa.

“Zimbabwe National Gazelles is inviting small-to-medium enterprises from the country’s 10 provinces to join the initiative which is targeted at businesses that are 100% Zimbabwe-owned, established and in operation for at least two years, with an annual turnover of at least $1,5 million. The applicants can be from any sector of the Zimbabwean economy,” the Zimbabwe National Gazelles said in a statement.

The programme will run for a period of three years and every year, 100 finalists will be chosen.

“From that list, the top 60 will be selected to benefit from a range of support activities and interventions to ensure that they operate as close as possible to their maximum potential. The main objective is to develop them to become medium-sized companies within an agreed period of time,” the company said.

The Zimbabwe National Gazelles is an adaptation of the tried and tested South African programme and is supported by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.

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The company highlighted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world had highlighted the need for support for high growth SMEs in various jurisdictions.

“When this painful period is over, the lower level SMEs will largely depend on high growth SMEs to source their inputs from them. It is, thus, vital that this programme kicks off in earnest during this COVID-19 period,” it said.

Post-COVID-19, there will be competition for local and international funding and as a result only companies that have potential to survive post this period will be prioritised.

ZB Bank is the official banker to the Zimbabwe National Gazelles Programme as the bank is supporting the programme budget as well as offering relevant SME advisory services.

In addition, the programme has other corporate partners including internet service providers, financial service providers, manufacturers and retail businesses, among others.

lnterested SMEs are required to express interest to participate by completing the relevant form, physically or online.

The programme application window opened on April 27, 2020 and will close on May 19, 2020.

The selected SMEs will be announced in early June and these SMEs become the inaugural Zimbabwe National Gazelles that will undergo the programme

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