mall and Medium Enterprises Development Institute (Smedi) has moved in to facilitate certification of products by beneficiaries of Project Innovations Centre (PIC), a local firm training people in manufacturing.
Speaking in an interview on Saturday when PIC trained people in Mzuzu, Smedi business training officer Harvey Chiwaya said they will be helping all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that benefit from the trainings.
He said they have a special arrangement with the Malawi Bureau of Standard (MBS) where all SMEs that pass through them get a 50 percent discount on certification, a move he said will help grow small businesses.
He said: “What we are trying to do is basically getting their products certified. We have a memorandum of understanding with MBS whereby we are trying to promote these SMEs.
“Smedi and MBS have an agreement, a capacity intervention where we are saying each and every SME manufacturing products should pass through Smedi for a 50 percent discount on certification.”
Chiwaya said the move is aimed at encouraging the adoption of entrepreneurial skills.
He said todate, five people from the Northern Region have been assisted to access the certification process.
One of the trainees, Rodwell Kanyimbo said SMEs face many challenges, chief among them being certification.
He said: “We lack proper trainings on businesses like what is happening now with PIC. Even for those already manufacturing products, they face serious challenges on charge that are imposed by MBS for certification.
“Businesses started long time ago, but we fail to progress because of these issues. We are grateful that slowly, we seem to be getting help.”
PIC chief executive officer Kondwani Kachamba Ngwira said they want to raise 5 000 manufacturers across the country who will be using local materials for production.
He said: “But these products have to be certified by MBS for consumer protection. The project is in three phases, mass training where we engage everyone.
“From here we give them one week and try at home and from the samples they send, we will pick the best 200. Those will undergo another training where we will engage stakeholders such as MBS, Malawi Revenue Authority and banks.”
Ngwira said the partnership with Smedi has helped them to work on the actual products.
“The multitudes that came show you that Malawians are hard-working. Some have no jobs and have nowhere to go apart from horning these skills to start production for survival,” he said.
This is the third in a series of trainings PIC has conducted.