Empowerment organisation launches Matabeleland South chapter Esteemed Businesswomen Zimbabwe founder Ms Sipho Mazibuko (green dress) poses for a picture with businesswomen during the launch of the Matabeleland South chapter

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected]

A LOCAL women empowerment organisation, Esteemed Businesswomen Zimbabwe (EBZ), has established operations in Matabeleland South province where it seeks to capacitate female entrepreneurs and help unlock business opportunities for thousands of small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

With a membership of more than 3 000 nationwide, the organisation has expressed commitment to working closely with the Government in growing the economy from the grassroots level by creating synergies among women and linking them to lucrative markets.

Sipho Mazibuko

EBZ launched its Mat’South Chapter in Gwanda last week. EBZ founder and entrepreneur, Ms Sipho Mazibuko, said they realised that most women under SMEs lack vital knowledge in areas such as company registration, tax clearance and how to access Government loans, among other critical skills. 

“The purpose of this meeting was to meet with SMEs women in Gwanda for an engagement on various business issues as well as to introduce them to the Esteemed Businesswomen Zimbabwe group,” she said in an interview. 

“The group is now big. We started as Esteemed Businesswomen Bulawayo, Matabeleland and then Zimbabwe. We now have Esteemed Businesswomen Botswana, Esteemed South Africa and Esteemed Diaspora covering Australia, the UK, USA and Ireland.

“As we grow the group, we don’t want women in rural areas to be left out of the opportunities, which women in urban areas are exposed to. We now have Esteemed Businessmen, which has about 300 members. Men raised a concern that they were being left out of this drive.”

Ms Mazibuko said she was utilising her 26 years of experience in business to empower women on how to manage their businesses, how to get funding, where to get funding, manage their books, financial literacy and business etiquette among other issues.

She said EBZ seeks to incorporate and empower women who are selling even the smallest products such as roasted maize and tomatoes among other products. 

Ms Mazibuko said the strategy is to develop these women so that they graduate into large-scale operators. 

“Now that we have opened a Mat South chapter, I want as many women as possible from this area to attend this year’s conference. I come from Filabusi and I have mobilised some women from there as well,” she said.

The co-founder of Esteemed Businesswomen Matabeleland South chapter, Ms Siphiwe Mabhena, said their strategy is to move across various districts and have as many women participating. 

She said they will hold meetings even in remote parts of the province.

Ms Ntombiyothando Ncube who is also a co-founder of the Mat South chapter said there is need for women in rural areas to be capacitated to build business empires.

EBZ is already making preparations to host its inaugural conference in Bulawayo in April, which is expected to equip women with vital entrepreneurial skills and create an interactive network platform for women to professionally expand their various ventures.

Policymakers, business leaders, regulatory authorities and representatives from the creative sector are expected to attend and share their insights with participants. —@DubeMatutu 

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