FDH Financial Holdings Limited group chief executive officer Thomson Mpinganjira has called on entrepreneurs in Malawi to embrace the vision set by Business Consult Africa (BCA) of creating one million jobs by 2017.
Mpinganjira said this at the launch of the five-year Entrepreneurship Revolution Programme (ERP) to be implemented by BCA that will see 200 000 entrepreneurs creating an average of five jobs each and collectively creating one million jobs by December 2017.
He said BCAâ€™s dream is not far-fetched, noting that in the USA, 54 percent of all taxpayers are employed by small businesses.
Said Mpinganjira: â€œWhen my own company, FDH, started in April 2002, we had seven employees, including myself. On Monday, we were 273. As of today, we are at 280 as we are about to open a branch in Zomba. You can imagine, therefore, what 200 000 entrepreneurs can achieve in five years in terms of employment if they participate in this programme.â€
BCA managing director Henry Kachaje noted that entrepreneurs are people that are very daring and if they find that things are tough, they adapt quickly and do something about it.
â€œThis is not a programme of handouts or people that just think let me get capital, and then Iâ€™ll go. Support must first of all come from yourself and when you tell yourself that â€˜I will do itâ€™ then the resources come.
â€œHere is a Malawian, Thom Mpinganjira, who 10 years ago started a business and now employs about 280 professionals. Where did he get the capital? He started with an idea, a dream and he developed it until this day he has a business which is growing,â€ said Kachaje.
ERP is a programme that will recruit, organise, train, mentor, coach, inspire, motivate and support 200 000 entrepreneurs, both existing and potential, to help them establish, develop and grow their own businesses.
Mpinganjira also noted that a lot of Malawians have served as successful engineers, consultants, accountants and other things in previous capacities, yet as entrepreneurs, they have been met with little success.
â€œThere are a number of reasons for this, which include lack of access to capital. My own assessment, however, is that this failure is also due to a number of other reasons.
â€œWhen you start a business, be financially prepared. If possible, have at least a six-month buffer such that you can still survive even if you did not make money for six months in the business. In real life, revenues take time to start flowing in, so this buffer will sustain you until you take off,â€ he said.
Mpinganjira advised that it is important to develop a savings and investment/re-investment culture, advising that there is need to desist from a life of conspicuous consumption and showing off.
â€œWe should be financially disciplined, consume less, save more and invest more,â€ he said.Â