The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Smea), a grouping of small business operators, has called for small businesses to brain storm and find solutions that have hindered their growth.
Over the years, most of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have not attained their full potential in terms of growth, largely affected by a number of factors that include to a hostile business environment characterised by high interest rates, rising inflation, lack of access to credit and a volatile exchange rate.
Economists argue that SMEs, which contribute substantially to the national economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), have the potential of turning around the country’s economy within the next few years if the environment in which they operate in is conducive for doing business and are accorded the space to operate.
Smea interim president James Chiutsi told Business News this week that if SMEs pool their ideas together they can move the economy forward.
“Over the years, the country has produced numerous youths, numerous graduates and experts in different fields. It has also produced enough retirees to make a difference to development, but it’s only when individuals themselves show willingness to get involved in economic and social development that the impact will be felt nationally,” he said.
Chiutsi said the small businesses grouping will aim at facilitating the exchange of ideas and act as a clearing house for ideas, priorities and problems in entrepreneurship development.
“No matter how many objectives Smea has on the table, no matter what action plan is to be launched, no matter what strategy, the big idea is to respond to the need for broader participation,” he said.
For over 50 years since Malawi gained independence, a number of strategies have been tried, but have failed to lift a number of Malawians from abject poverty.
Chiutsi noted that Malawians are just trying to do things that should have been done five years ago, calling for a stop to the trend.
The grouping also wants to provide a forum for discussing innovative business ideas and give a platform for generating those ideas into real business ventures through a vibrant business network.
SMEs want government to implement deliberate polices aimed at developing the sector on issues such as tax levies for start-up and the opportunity to participate in large government contracts such as the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).