Locadia Mavhudzi, Business Correspondent
GWERU businesswomen say they are ready to tap into opportunities in the manufacturing sector as their recent trip to China with the First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa has started bearing fruit.
The First Lady visited China last month and held fruitful discussions with Chinese companies keen to invest in Zimbabwe.
The First Lady, who is also the patron for the Angel of Hope Foundation, led a high-powered delegation comprising businesspeople and officials from various Government ministries.
Among them was emerging Gweru businesswoman, Ms Ellaine Muchena who said the visit has opened up new avenues for her as she was now venturing into the business of supplying aluminium window and door frames.
The businesswoman said she now awaits a consignment of aluminium frames she imported directly from China, eradicating the middlemen who charge exorbitant import costs.
“Our China business trip is beginning to payback as we are now in the process of establishing an aluminum centre in Gweru.
“We have already done a needs assessment and we are looking forward to catering for the aluminum needs of the construction sector in the whole province.
“Companies were importing from South Africa at a much higher cost,” said Ms Muchena.
She said women under the Redlipstick Foundation banner were now seeking to penetrate the male-dominated sector like construction and manufacturing as the First Lady has committed assisting them with opening new business avenues.
“In the spirit of fighting against poverty, the First Lady has challenged us as women to rise up and be gamechangers.
“My colleagues are venturing into poultry production, are in the process of importing hatcheries from China.
“We will be competing with giant day-old chick producers like Irvine’s. Gone are the days when people had to travel all the way to Harare to access services,” she said.
Ms Muchena said the new projects were in support of the devolution agenda as the provision of goods and services will be decentralised across the country.
Redlipstick Foundation founder Dr Abigail Magwenzi said emerging businesswomen will be trained on procurement processes by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) next month in Gweru
“Coming from the China visit, we have singled out procurement processes as a major challenge for upcoming business leaders especially women.
“Most of the tenders are won by our male counterparts because we lack knowledge on tendering process and positioning ourselves competitively.
“The planned workshop with PRAZ will go a long way in establishing the footprints of women in business,” she said.
Dr Magwenzi said her organisation has also facilitated for women to access markets in Dubai.
“Zim Women Do Dubai is another initiative where progressive women in Zimbabwe who are seeing the opportunities want to connect with our sisters in the diaspora and strategise.
“We are in the business of re-programing and mobilising mindsets that can come together and enter the market place with a bang.
“All this would not have been possible if we had not been fortunate enough to accompany the First Lady to China,” she said.