Government has described Zantchito Project as a timely intervention to support youth-led enterprises and create decent formal jobs in the country.
Zantchito – Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance Project-will focus on skills and entrepreneurship development of young Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Education and Training (Tevet) graduates and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to promote an entrepreneurial culture, sustainable enterprise creation and decent, formal jobs.
In a written response on Sunday, Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson Yamikani Kadzakumanja said this will address both skills gaps and capitalisation of small and medium enterprises in the country.
He said: “The programme does not only address skills gaps, but it also addresses the challenge of access to finance.”
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) have partnered and pooled together funds amounting to 13.5 million euros (about K12 billion) to strengthen business incubation; enhance business development services as well as access to finance for small-scale entrepreneurs.
Speaking when the two organisations signed the contribution agreement in Lilongwe recently, UNDP resident representative Shigeki Komatsubara said the project is also a strategic step towards more effective collaboration with the smaller scale enterprises and under-served segments of the entrepreneurial community in rural and border areas.
He said: “The project aims to support over 3 800 entrepreneurs in the creation of new entrepreneurship ventures and in the formalisation of existing enterprises with direct and indirect job creation of more than 7 600.”
Head of cooperation of the EU Delegation in Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens agreed that from the nearly 38 percent of the working age population in MSMEs, most of them still lack the necessary technical, financial, and business support to grow their businesses to levels that would render them dependable players in the value chain.