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Kalumbila business clinic thrills small business

By DERRICK SILIMINA

Entrepreneurs converged at the Impala Hotel grounds in Kalumbila District early November to attend a three-day business clinic organized by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the First Quantum Minerals Trident Foundation Limited.

The second edition of the business clinic themed Sustainable Partnerships for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Growth, was organized to offer local businesses access to all the critical services required to run legitimate businesses.

Participants included local SMEs supported through the Trident Foundation Limited (TFL).

ZDA Director-General Albert Halwampa affirmed that events like the business clinic were instrumental in providing participants with the knowledge, tools and networks necessary to navigate the complexities of the business world.

“As we continue our efforts to simplify procedures and streamline processes, we understand that time is of the essence, especially for those eager to embark on their entrepreneurial journey,” Halwampa said in a speech read on his behalf by ZDA Assistant Director Samson Simwanda.

FQM Trident Limited Assistant General Manager Frederic Wouters said his organization wanted people and communities affected by the mining business to benefit through opportunities such as employment, business development, education, training or community investment over the long-term. “Our expectation from this business clinic is capacity development that will foster local content in the mining sector, but also promote economic diversification and build economic resilience, especially beyond our mine life,” Wouters stated.

Entrepreneurs were enthralled by their exposure to new information.

“I wish to thank the Trident Foundation for giving me an opportunity to attend business lessons and now I have the knowledge to run a business with ease. This business clinic has also enabled me to register my farming venture with PACRA and ZRA,” Jameson Kalamba said.

Kalamba, who is based in the Shineng’ene area recently got his 20 per cent NAPSA partial withdraw and invested K9000 into the production of vegetables such as cabbage and rape on a four-acre farmland. Kalamba, a former mine worker, now supplies Allterrain Services (ATS) in Kalumbila and records a profit of K16,000.

Nokias Simuchanga, Secretary at Musele Youth Enterprise, says the business clinic has learned about what it takes to access youth empowerment funds from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).

Simuchanga said his local block-making firm which is based in the Kisasa area had been in operation for two years, supplying pavers and blocks to the surrounding community and has employed more than 20 youths within the Musele catchment area.

“This business clinic has opened my mind especially because various business institutions here have been kind enough to take us through the nitty-gritty of registering a business, and stand a chance to acquire a loan and make more profit.”

Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Elias Mubanga earlier told entrepreneurs that the event demonstrates that partnerships with the private sector were key to driving the economic transformation agenda of the country. “We truly believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses in our communities as they are key drivers in the development of our communities, improving livelihoods and the much-needed growth of our economy,” Mubanga said.

Economic pundits say micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) represent about 97 per cent of all businesses and contribute 70 per cent of Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 88 per cent of employment.

Present at the clinic were the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Workers Compensation Fund, National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIMA), Kalumbila Chamber of Commerce and Industry and First National Bank (FNB) among others.

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