ZITF offers window for SMEs growth Sprucing up of stands ahead of this year ZITF is at an advanced stage with much of the space having been taken up

Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
SMALL to Medium Enterprises should ride on the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) slated for Bulawayo next week to secure big business deals as well as tapping into the export market.

The Government and private sector experts are convinced that Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) present a huge opportunity to grow the economy and could contribute more towards attainment of an upper middle-income economy vision by 2030.

The connection to viable markets, enhanced financing and access to adequate working space are some of the key enablers to growing the sector, industry experts have said.

In an interview ahead of the 62nd edition of the country’s prime expo, ZITF chief executive officer, Dr Nicholas Ndebele, said SMEs possess a great potential to become big exhibitors in the future.

In order to achieve this, he said there was need to scale up support for the SMEs including helping them to tap into opportunities from trade shows like the ZITF.

“As ZITF, we realise the importance of SMEs especially considering that the sector was heavily impacted by Covid-19,” said Dr Ndebele.

“Of interest to ZITF is the role of SMEs as the driver of the economy, as future exhibitors and as an actor that needs to understand that exhibition is not for large businesses only but also meant for them to leverage on those kinds of networks that we provide as ZITF.”

Bulawayo Chamber of SMEs programme co-ordinator, Mr Nketha Mangoye Dlamini, said being an international platform, ZITF gives budding businesses a platform to access local, regional and international markets.

“SMEs should fully use ZITF and market themselves aggressively to potential buyers of their products and create networks with suppliers of raw materials,” said Mr Dlamini.

“Also, SMEs should be very visible, they should use flyers and have their business cards to exchange with local, regional and international companies for future networking.”

He also advised SMEs to design attractive stands and engage professionals who can assist them with expertise to market their products better.

In a separate interview, an SME operator at the Old CSC complex, Mr Killian Machingambi, said the ZITF provides a platform for them to market their products and get known by buyers who might not have an idea on where to get certain services.

He said in the past the ZITF platform has helped small businesses to gain critical exposure and linkages with large corporates.

“ZITF is very important to us as SMEs because that is where we gain spotlight and customers tend to know where exactly to get certain product,” said Mr Machingambi.

“Those large businesses by products from us and resell to customers but they won’t tell customers where the products are being manufactures. So, with ZITF we intend to make ourselves known so that we have the ability to provide good quality products, which can also be sold to the international market.”

Mr Machingambi also said SMEs were working harder to improve their quality of products by employing qualified personnel.

“We employ skilled people who are also found in those big corporates. So, there is nothing that can stop us to grow and become big ZITF exhibitors in the next few years,” he said.

ZITF deputy chief executive office, Ms Stella Nkomo, also said SMEs were a critical component of the ZITF event and need to be nurtured to grow big.

“We want SMEs to be part and parcel of ZITF because the future of the economy is driven by SMEs everywhere, globally,” said Ms Nkomo. — @sikhulekelaniM1

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