About 307 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are set to benefit from the Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship Scaling (FinEs) project financing training which seeks to equip entrepreneurs.
The training, which runs for 12 weeks, is part of the five-year $86 million (about K87 billion) loan facility obtained by the government from the International Development Association and implemented by Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM). It is aimed at strengthening MSMEs’ business capacity.
FinEs Project technical assistance team member Lewis Kulisewa said the first cohort of the training has considered entrepreneurs who employ a minimum of two employees and have been trading for more than six months prior to their application.
He said: “This is an important phase of the FinEs capacity building programme for entrepreneurs. It offers MSMEs, in all parts of the country, an opportunity to grow their business and improve their funding readiness and eligibility through participation in a range of events, training and networking activities.”
According to Kulewa, in addition to specific activities, all beneficiary MSMEs will have access to the FinEs Business Support Desk which aims to assist MSMEs with common business challenges and provide useful suggestions, tools, advice and referral support.
He said the project will empower at least 2 500 MSMEs and a minimum of 100 business development service practitioners with a range of business growth support interventions.
National Association of Business Women executive director Babara Banda described the training as a powerful tool that would empower MSMEs with the personal initiative skills needed to grow their businesses and build their self-awareness and confidence.
She said: “MSMEs are crucial to the economic development of any country. Not only do they contribute towards job creation, they stimulate economic growth and innovation.
“To achieve this, they need proper guidance and skills which this FinEs is providing. This, therefore, goes a long way to upscale our business capabilities.”
Speaking separately, Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises Association executive secretary James Chiutsi described the initiative as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to scale up their growth.
On his part, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute chief executive officer Rodrick Chattaika said the training will go a long to address both skills gaps and capitalisation of small and medium enterprises in the country.
FinEs project’s objective is to increase access to financial services, promote entrepreneurship and capabilities of MSMEs.
Meanwhile, the RBM under the FinES Project has disbursed over K40 billion loans within two years to over 36 000 businesses.