ILO’s GreenenterPRIZE programme empowers over 100 Zim SMEs

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By Alois Vinga

A BUSINESS empowerment project being initiated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has uplifted over 100 Zimbabwean start-up businesses that presented proposals to it, the organisation’s country director, Hopolang Phororo has revealed.

She was speaking at a recent Harare awards ceremony held to honour a group of contestants with excelling projects.

“The number of enterprises joining this initiative has grown rapidly, with 27 new winners entering our business development programme today, and another 27, after the adjudication processes for the Southern Region, next month…besides the winners, 60 finalists per region,” said Phororo.

Cumulatively, she said, this year the number of beneficiaries will reach 200 SMEs with projects aimed at increasing the provision of green products and services that can result in innovative environmental solutions and new job opportunities, particularly for young people.

The support provided under the project which includes access to information, seed capital support innovative technology and provision of comprehensive business development.

Speaking at the same occasion, Women Affairs Ministry’s permanent secretary, Melusi Matshiya expressed gratitude over the ILO’s initiative.

“The support provided under the project will include access to information, seed capital support, innovative technology and provision of comprehensive business development services adding supply side challenges facing green enterprise,” he said.

He said the project will improve the operating environment for green enterprises thereby enhancing their potential and creativity.

“With these planned efforts, there is great potential to learn and build upon the results of the project which we are deeply indebted to ILO and its partners for laying a solid foundation,” Matshiya added.

The Simuka-Phakama GreenenterPRIZE programme seeks to address high levels of youth unemployment, low levels of formal and growth-oriented enterprises, and unsustainable production processes of small and medium sized enterprises in Zimbabwe.

It is being implemented by the International Labour Organisation in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, with support from the Government of Sweden.