Local authorities urged to avail SMEs land for workspaces
Bulawayo (New Ziana)-Local authorities should avail land to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to construct industrial parks for use as workspaces, an expert has said.
Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs chairperson Coustine Ngwenya said this at the graduation of small to medium entrepreneurs at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds recently.
More than 300 entrepreneurs graduated to mainstream business while some moved from medium enterprises to large corporations.
The event was the inaugural graduation of three SMEs chambers that include Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces.
“The SMEs sector is requesting land to construct industrial parks which serve as their workspace. We request that all local authorities be SMEs friendly when undertaking their planning processes,” said Ngwenya.
He said the sector has benefited from government market development initiatives which have seen SMEs being supported to participate at local, regional and international exhibitions.
“SMEs have benefited a lot from government-initiated programs such as business management training and workspace development.
Ngwenya urged financial institutions to relax their policies on borrowing to enable the majority of their members to access funding.
“We appeal to the government to ensure that financial institutions such as SMEDCO (Small to Medium Enterprises Development Corporation), Zimbabwe Women Micro Finance Bank and others have better policies regarding the requirement of collateral as most of our members are finding it difficult to access capital funding to boost their businesses,” he said, adding there was also need to allocate more funding to line Ministries that support SMEs.
He said they have started developing value chain activities as defined by the National Development Strategy(NDS1) through engaging institutions of higher learning in the province while SMEs chambers have also engaged partners in India to improve efficiency and productivity.
“In this regard, we have hosted a delegate from the SME sector in India. Plans are underway to visit India as a way of consolidating this partnership,” he narrated.
Ngwenya said they recently received an invitation to participate at the 3rd China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo to be held in Changsha between June 29 and July 2 under the theme, “Common Development for a Shared Future.”
The expo will focus on the key areas and emerging fields of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.
As a way of fighting the scourge of drug abuse in the country, Ncube encouraged colleges and universities to ensure that students in entrepreneurship classes are assisted to start and register companies which are monitored throughout the course, adding the right approach is for the nation to produce employers not employees.
“We continue to encourage our members to register and formalise their businesses so that they contribute towards the building of our nation towards attaining Vision 2030,” he said.