THE beauty, cosmetic and fashion industry allows people to tell the world who they are without them saying a single word, but sadly, locally the industry seems to be neglected when it comes to funding.

Well-Life Foundation founder and director Albert Chapasuka has thus urged government to support the industry which he says has the potential to provide growth opportunities for many creatives.

“As Well-Life Foundation, we are planning to host a fashion, beauty and cosmetic conference with an expo within the programme. As an organisation we realised that there are challenges that the beauty, cosmetic and fashion industry are facing,” he told NewsDay Life & Style recently.

“There is lack of recognition of the fashion designers, barbers, hairdressers, those that are into cosmetology and those in the massage business. So, for our forthcoming event, we want to recognise entrepreneurs who are transforming our society in a bigger way.”

Chapasuka said the beauty, cosmetic and fashion industry employs a lot of people, thereby adding value to the economy.

“There is a lot that is going on in this industry. We feel that this sector has got so much potential, yet there has not been so much support in terms of funding. Some new players and entrepreneurs are manufacturing cosmetics. So, it is a new industry that is popping up and we are saying government needs to recognise them as well, as big players,” he said.

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“Government should at least support the sector by providing funding because some of them fail to grow their businesses due to lack of financial support.”

He continued: “I remember when I did a needs assessment, we realised that most of them, if you ask any barber or hairdresser how they see themselves in five to 10 years from now, they would tell you that they want to grow their businesses, but the problem was that they do not have access to funding.”

Chapasuka acknowledged that problems faced by this industry may be a result of failure to formalise businesses.

“Their businesses are not formalised, but what we are trying to do is engaging relevant stakeholders to try as much as they can to ensure that the industry is formalised,” he said.

“We also realised that most barbers do not have life insurance, funeral insurance or medical aid cover and we engaged companies that provide such services to come on board and be a solution to these challenges this sector is facing. So, our organisation is working on coming up with this conference so that there is a solution to these problems,” he said.

Chapasuka said another notable problem was lack of skills development among many entrepreneurs.

“We feel that there is need for robust engagement with key stakeholders that we are bringing on board like Women’s University (in Africa), which is now offering a certificate in entrepreneurship development,” he noted.

“It is one thing to be trained to be a cosmetologist and it is another thing to be an entrepreneur. Most of them are just students who have been trained, but they are not entrepreneurs, hence they do not know how to run or manage their businesses.”

Chapasuka added: “We have also engaged ZimTrade to help the sector to also export their products such as cosmetics.”