Government in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a five year entrepreneurship programme amounting to K140 million .
The programme is aimed at building and strengthening the capacity of Zambian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the private sector in order to create jobs and contribute to the diversification of the economy.
Officiating at the launch of the programme, today, Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Robert Sichinga said the nation need to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit, because it forms the backbone of the economy.
Mr Sichinga said noted that Zambia is a nation of entrepreneurs with enthusiastic, enterprising men and women across the country, who are eager to grow their businesses, employ more people and contributes to driving the economy forward.
He said the programme dubbed Private Enterprise Programme-Zambia (PEP-Z) will give entrepreneurs in Zambia to have fresh opportunities to grow their businesses.
The minister called for close co-operation between the various stakeholders involved adding that PEP-Z’s work builds and
complements a number of initiatives already underway by the government.
Programme Manager Bayo Akindeinde explained that the programme will focus on women and youth empowerment.
Mr Akindeinde called on large and small businesses, government, consumers and the public to partner with PEP-Z to help achieve its goals.
He said PEP-Z aims to achieve its goals through an integrated approach that has four interlinked components that include Business Linkages.
Development Services, Business Plan Competition and Impact Investment that will provide a combination of finance and technical support to propel promising businesses onto the next level, he said.
He reasoned that by creating those linkages, the nation can help small business become more competitive and grow into larger businesses.
Mr Akindeinde said this is important, not only for the businesses concerned, but for the wider development of the country.
He noted that a strong enterprise sector drives job creation and the multiplier effects of that lead to economic prosperity which he said are the build blocks for a better quality of life for all citizens.
The programme, which is funded by DFID, will be implemented through targeted interventions that will help entrepreneurs to become more competitive.
Permanent Secretary of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Mark Lowcock, Zambian government officials and private sector representatives were present at the launch of the programme.