Lack of market exposure and enterprise are hindering entrepreneurs from venturing into business, Malawian Chapter of the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (Awep) country director Grace Mhango has said.
Mhango said emerging entrepreneurs are finding problems to establish themselves in the business community, pointing out that there are limited platforms for them to get noticed and that most Malawians largely depend on donations.
“An assessment that our programme came up with indicated that most entrepreneurs, especially the youth, have that potential to come up with various youth projects, but they do not know where to sell their products while others do not know how to utilise the available resources,” she said in an interviewon Monday.
Mhango said in an effort to bring such problems to an end, the programme will this month end open a showroom for arts and crafts businesses to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses.
“We want to support and provide a long-term solution to other problems encountered by entrepreneurs,” she said, adding that Awep trains about 100 entrepreneurs a year, mainly the youths in agri-business and art to help them realise their potential.
According to Mhango, the programme is in the process of identifying and instilling in the youth ways in which to maximise working hours and reduce idleness.
Last year, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) recognised Awep as one of its areas of interest to increase funding opportunities available to Awep members, thereby enabling greater access to global markets and increase trade and investment in Africa.
Awep was asked to launch a project named ‘Missing Middle of Africa Supply Chain Project’, aimed at facilitating supplier development opportunities for African women entrepreneurs and help them to develop and integrate their businesses into local supply chains.
The programme has 5 000 members and was launched in July 2010. It identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa to transform their societies by owning, running and operating small and medium businesses and by becoming voices for social advocacy in their communities.