17 August 2014

Zambia: COMESA to Train SMEs in Business Planning

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will train Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) business owners and managers in business planning and marketing strategies countrywide.

COMESA SME Toolkit programme coordinator Edwin Zulu said SMEs worldwide were the engine of the economy through which the benefits of the country's economic gains could be distributed hence the need to train them.

Mr Zulu, who is also ELIF Business solution limited chief executive officer said COMESA was working in collaboration with International Finance Corporation, National Council for Construction (NCC) and ELIF Business Solution limited to organise a two-day training workshop for SME business owners and managers.

He said the workshops were designed to prepare SMEs or managers to promote sustainable business management practices in their day-to-day business operations and management.

Mr Zulu said workshop would provide SMEs with a variety of learning activities within the framework of the SME Toolkit as a Computer assisted learning tool, suitable for adult learners.

"The objectives of the workshop are to help SMEs concentrate on the contents that are relevant in the context of their Business, deliver the contents of the Toolkit in an engaging way, and with the most appropriate training delivery modes," he said.

The workshop articulates the "best practices" for SMEs to carry out basic financial accounting, business planning or project proposal preparation by introducing them to the useful SME Toolkit resources, tools, how to articles, business forms and training resources and others.

He said the programme would also cover the broad overview of the other Toolkit categories or business management areas, including human resources, informational technology, legal and insurance, international business, sales and marketing and operations and management.

The workshop would also help the Zambian SME sector to be competitive in the COMESA region because the SME sector was one of the significant industries that played an important role in the country's economic growth.

"You know the SME sector is very important in the growth of our economic, so in this programme we want to make sure that Zambia's SME remain active in the regional competition," he said.

Mr Zulu said the sector should be made viable by devising mechanisms that would promote its growth, thereby achieving intended target of contributing to the country's economy.

He said there was need to ensure people in the SMEs business were well equipped with good business plans and financial keeping management skills to sustain their businesses.

Mr Zulu also added that the sector could be productive, if SMEs had the capacity to undertake various business ventures and have increased access to finances.

"SMEs should be helped with capacity building on how to come up with good business plans and also increasing access to funds is important for them to stay in the business.

Banks like Zanaco, and Barclays should come one board and sponsor the workshop as doing so would help them tap clients when they become viable and want to save," he said.

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