Ministry of Labour has touted business incubation centres, saying they are key to jobs and wealth creation.
Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo said this on Friday after a tour of Lilongwe and Salima technical colleges to appreciate the state of the colleges’ preparedness in line with government’s skills development agenda.
The minister said technical colleges need to be complemented with business incubation centres as is the case with Lilongwe Technical College.
Kandodo said technical colleges are key in nurturing entrepreneurial skills that enable the growth of small-scale enterprises into medium to large investments that create jobs for more people.
He said: “After developing skills, the entrepreneurial ideas should be incubated into real businesses so that students are supported with capital and necessary tools for business ventures.
“We have been developing skills for a long time, but we have not nurtured the business ideas into real business. Once we take this path, we should be assured of creation of more jobs.”
Kandodo challenged technical colleges to be innovative in using their facilities and student skills to implement income generating services such as motor vehicle repairs and consultancies, among others, to ensure sustainability of the institutions.
Lilongwe Technical College acting principal Suzgika Walters Mvalo said the business incubation centre is pivotal for the college students and all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) requiring their business ideas to be incubated into real businesses.
He said those with business ideas, or an innovation of a product to be created, engage experts to refine the ideas and blend them with entrepreneurship skills.
Said Mvalo: “If it is an industrial product, the experts will refine the engineering aspect and work on it in the engineering workshop to come up with a prototype product.
“They will analyse its functionality, perfect it, seek financiers for a medium to large investment or sell the same to industries for production value chains that employ more people”.
On his part, Salima Technical College principal Freeman Kalirani decried the closure of schools in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it has resulted in financial challenges as they are not getting school fees which complement government funding.
He said government funding has been delaying, resulting in the institution accruing utility bills as well as failing to pay suppliers of some services to the institution.
Government is on the move to create one million jobs in one year as part of its campaign pledge and believes that skills development is key for the growth of SMEs, which are key in job creation.