The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Smea) has asked local entrepreneurs to look beyond donor funding as a source of income in their dealings if they are to sustain their businesses.
Smea president James Chiutsi said this in an interview on Monday in view of the financial problems that some small and medium groupings of entrepreneurs continue to face in the country.
He noted that associations are mostly built on structures that focus on short-term goals, hence they fail to survive the test of time when hit even by small shocks.
“There is need for business management acumen, sound business structures, creative and innovative businesses if SMEs are to survive in any economy,” he said.
According to Chiutsi, financial and other forms of help have not been easy to come by as donors and other benefactors always point to earlier opportunities and become sceptical, particularly with organisations that mismanage resources.
Ironically, SMEs contribute over 50 percent of employment in the country, but continue to face various challenges in their operations and are usually not highly regarded in the society.
Africa Women Entrepreneurship Programme (Awep), an initiative aimed at facilitating supplier development opportunities for African women entrepreneurs to help them develop and integrate their businesses into local supply chains, is among several SMEs that are struggling financially in Malawi.
In 2014, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) recognised Awep as one of its areas of interest to increase funding opportunities to its members, but the fund has not been channelled to the beneficiaries since.
In an interview on Monday, Awep country manager Grace Mhango said the Malawi Chapter, alongside others across the African continent, has been hit by lack of financial support.
She said: “We have relied on personal resources to train some youth on basic entrepreneurship knowledge. Every year, we train entrepreneurs in excess of 35 and will continue with this trend”.
Mhango said the grouping plans to meet in Mozambique in due course to strategise and come up with a survival kit as the challenge has hit almost all Awep chapters.
“We realise the power of our network and the need to get other underprivileged to participate hence we have set plans to empower entrepreneurs,” she said.