In early September 2014, the Inclusive Business Forum of Zimbabwe hosted a workshop for some 50 people in Harare. The workshop provided insights into some interesting ongoing inclusive business projects being implemented in the country by a handful of organizations. Participants heard about progress, achievements, challenges and lessons learnt to date. The companies also discussed the economic and social benefits of inclusive business for both their company and for their partners in the low-income communities.
The Inclusive Business Forum is a collaboration between SNV Zimbabwe, the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) and RCSR with the generous support of the Ford Foundation. It is administered by the BCSDZ.
The workshop was chaired by Mr. Elton Mudyazvivi, Agriculture Sector Leader for SNV Zimbabwe. The latter has worked with some of the organizations concerned, providing technical and/or financial assistance in terms of their Inclusive Business Scan and/or Capacity Building Grant facilities. Since August 2012, over 45 scan applications have been received; over 25 feasibility studies have been successfully completed (potential outreach is estimated at over 50,000 low-income households); and 11 pilot grants have been awarded in a variety of sectors.
Herewith a brief summary of the five presentations held at the workshop.
- Innovation for problem solving: by Mrs Jenny Wall, Managing Director, My Pads Zimbabwe
My Pads have designed a high quality washable and reusable cloth sanitary pad to meet the needs of low‐income women and rural school girls. The pads are manufactured locally and distributed for sale via sales agents working within low‐income communities. My Pads also provide training on menstrual hygiene. My Pads have been successful with product design, quality standards approval and manufacturing. They are trying to obtain more distributors and sales agents within low‐income communities and micro‐finance opportunities are being investigated.
- Commercializing sweet‐potato production: by Mr. Morestaff Chibanda, Managing Director, SimFresh
Simfresh is an international agribusiness firm focused on the development of smallholder and emerging farmers. The company engages with all major stakeholders at all stages of the fresh produce production chain. Simfresh's business model emphasizes the importance of capacity building, training and mentorship. Challenges include changing the mindsets of the farmers in terms of types and varieties of sweet potatoes to ensure market suitability, and breaking through into the local market as new players. Achievements are ongoing and include improved trust among partners, support to farmers through capacity building, higher yields, processing of by‐products, better knowledge of the markets, and the strengthening of policies that protect small holder farmers.
- Think outside the bottle: Mr. Tawanda Masuka, Chief Operating Officer, Petrecozim
The PET Recycling Company of Zimbabwe (Petrecozim) focusses on post‐consumer collection and recycling of Polyethylene Terephalate (PET) bottles. Petrecozim have incorporated low income communities into their supply chain as waste vendors or waste harvesters. Taking the inclusive business approach allowed Petrecozim to look at their business model differently. Through access to a wider network of suppliers, they have identified a reliable and steady supply of raw material. The waste vendors are benefitting from training, protective equipment, collection site branding, infrastructure support and awareness campaigns on waste recycling.
- Waste Management Enterprises Establishment: Miss Teresa Mungazi, Business & Biodiversity Officer, Environment Africa
One of Environment Africa's goals is to promote action and awareness on waste management in Zimbabwe. Miss Mungazi provided some background on the waste situation in Zimbabwe and the motivation to assist low-income communities to establish waste management enterprises. Environment Africa have provided training on waste management and business management to 10 community groups. Start‐up funding is to be allocated to the enterprises that meet the criteria developed by Environment Africa. Assistance is also given in the form of business mentorship and business incubators (including networking platforms, exhibitions, market linkages, assistance in compliance with national legislation).
- The Milkzim inclusive business model (video presentation):
As part of their Dairy Zone Project with small‐scale dairy farmers in Domboshava, Milkzim have adopted the inclusive business approach for the distribution and retail of their milk products. To date over 100 vendors from low‐income communities have been trained as Nutrition Network Officers (NNOs) on how to handle and sell milk efficiently and hygienically according to food regulatory standards. The NNOs purchase Merilac fermented milk from Milkzim's wholesale outlet in Harare and sell individual packets to consumers living in various high density, low income suburbs in Harare.
Opportunities for questions and discussions were provided at the end of each presentation. These sessions led to lively discussions on topics such as the uptake of the SNV inclusive business program, the socio‐economic impact of these types of ventures, micro‐finance challenges, capacity building and training.
The workshop was closed by the Chairman, Mr. Elton Mudyazvivi, with a vote of thanks to the organizers, presenters and participants. It was agreed that inclusive business is a viable business model for the country – it fits in with the economic recovery strategies for Zimbabwe and provides great win‐win opportunities for companies, small scale operators and low-income communities. Mr. Mudyazvivi also encouraged companies to seek advice and guidance from SNV on implementing new projects or on scaling up existing activities.
For more information on inclusive business activities in Zimbabwe please go to www.inclusivebusiness.org.zw or check out the Twitter feeds @IBZimbabwe and visit this blog http://ibzimbabwe.blogspot.ch/
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The Workshop also features on the IB Forum Newsletter which can be found on this website.