ZIMBABWEAN small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have the capacity to compete on an equal footing with global counterparts as they are exhibiting improvement in quality standards and business excellency.
According to applied economic researchers, net job creation comes from a small batch of successful fast-growing firms, rather than from a large majority of averagely performing SMEs.
In view of the structural transformation of the country’s economy, which has resulted in creation of a strong SMEs base, economic experts have stressed the need to accelerate cooperation between the public and private sector to unlock the potential of start-up businesses.
This has seen a number of SMEs support initiatives being rolled out by the public and private sector partners and these continue to showcase the growing capacity of budding entrepreneurs as economic actors.
The country’s premier SME development initiative, The Zimbabwe National Gazelles Programme, which held its annual business day and national awards ceremony last week in Harare, has indicated that the local SMEs sector presents huge opportunities for economic growth.
“Zimbabwean entrepreneurs can compete as equals in the competitive global world of business,” reads part of post-awards statement issued on Friday.
“It is important that SMEs be supported so that they become tomorrow’s corporates.”
“Ultimately, the National Gazelles alumni will be able to play a mentorship role for their new counterparts, at the same time forming a national network of business owners sharing the same goals of business success, job creation, innovation and business excellence.”
This year’s winner of the Gazelle of the year award is Masvingo-based Proper Engineering Services, run by Winnet Musorosekwa. The company offers engineering services such as machining, plant maintenance, steel structures, steel fabrication and steel supplies. The top five performers are Wozani Lodge, Millenium Footwear (Bulawayo), Green Tech Ventures, Kusi Chemicals and Dhaka Logistics and Watchman Security.
“Each business in this programme has the potential to build world-class, competitive businesses, to create new sustainable employment opportunities, to innovate and to revitalise specific industries from the ground up,” reads the statement.
“This Gazelles programme offers a unique blend of support interventions and activities, ranging from strategic thinking to branding, access to funding and market, business skills and to productivity enhancement.
“By ensuring that each business operates on the basis of a sound growth strategy, and has access to specialist advisory support and funding, sustainable growth becomes more likely and the risk of failure is reduced.”
Launched in April 2020, the Zimbabwe National Gazelles is part of the Pan African initiative that aims at creating a new breed of successful African SMEs that will become tomorrow’s corporates.
The programme identifies and supports the country’s top 50 high growth SMEs that are selected from all the country’s 10 provinces.
The Top 50 entities were selected out of more than 300 applicants through a rigorous process that ensured that best performers made it to final selection, said the organisers.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Mr Moses Mhike, who gave keynote remarks said the Gazelles programme buttresses the approved National Small and Medium Enterprises Development Policy (2020-2024), which prioritises formal collaborative partnerships in providing various support services to MSMEs in Zimbabwe.
Mrs Monica Mureriwa from the Catholic University, who also attended the awards event highlighted the importance of reviewing the business operating environment and adapting and adjusting strategies to ensure business continuity.