By Mwiza Nzila
Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML) has through its Trident Foundation Limited (TFL) continued to equip people in the mine catchment area with business skills so that income generation is sustainable after the life of the mine.
To enhance entrepreneurship capacity, the mine has facilitated training activities at Nvumabaranda in Kalumbila to stimulate business ideas, initiate small scale business start-ups and support small local entrepreneurs.
Trident Foundation Manager Joseph Ngwira has said the Start Your Business (SYB) training will be followed up with mentorship and coaching sessions to monitor trainees’ implementation of the action plans from their training. “This will help ascertain the type of support to render the trainees in order for their businesses to be successful.”
The local small scale entrepreneurship training is affiliated to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and is meant to help individuals to create business plans and turn their ideas into viable businesses. The training includes market research, record keeping, marketing, costing and financial planning; all meant to show how simple business ideas can be actualized.
“Through our local business development support section, we may provide equipment finance or operating cash as a form of microfinance support. Based on due diligence results, more training based on how complex or how big the business is can be facilitated. Others may have already started their businesses but are struggling to sell their products or services, so we may have to connect them to a larger market within or outside the mine catchment area,” Ngwira explains.
He adds that a positive attitude and desire to do better is of utmost importance.
“We also recognize the need to align support with interest and potential, hence identification of viable opportunities is driven by what participants believe they can do better if supported.”
The Trident Foundation will work hand-in-hand with the local SMEs to ensure that their businesses become self-reliant and sustainable beyond the productive life of the mine.
“Our support is meant to boost the economic activity of this catchment area and also to help the locals improve their livelihoods by generating an income to support their families and community.
“Our strategy is to promote a realization that the potential to improve the quality of livelihood is within individuals, the wealth is adequate but the missing link is the ability to transform the wealth into liquidity so that we together can address our basic needs.”
The trainees include women representing village banking groups; youth groups composed of welding and block-making graduates; hair salon owners and those with ideas of starting agribusiness such as poultry and pig rearing.
Ngwira adds that once the businesses take off, the attendants are taken through further training to improve and enhance their operational systems, and enable them to forecast their performance for short and long-term planning.
Musele Chamber of Commerce CEO Jacob Chikomu has encouraged the trainees to join the chamber for increased access to tenders from the mine.
Accelerated Growth for SMEs in Zambia (AGS) also supported the training programme by providing a trainer.
Representing the trainees, Muse Musemangeji thanked Kalumbila Minerals for empowering community members with business skills, and further urged her colleagues to practice what they have learnt in order for them to benefit from the business loan facility from TFL.