In a collaborative effort to promote sustainable business growth in Kalumbila, First Quantum Minerals’ Trident Limited and the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) recently organised a business clinic under the theme, “Sustainable Business Partnerships for MSME Growth.”
The initiative aims to empower local entrepreneurs, foster economic diversification, and create opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The Kalumbila Business Clinic underscored the government’s commitment to MSME business development and strong partnerships with the private sector, bringing together industry experts, including the Patents & Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIMA), financial institutions, Prudential Life Assurance, and the Agriculture Leasing Company (AGLEASECO).
The event created a unique platform for entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to engage with seasoned professionals and gain practical insights into establishing and growing successful businesses.
Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Hon. Elias Mubanga launched the clinic and emphasised the crucial role SMEs played in economic development, citing that they represent about 97% of all businesses, contribute 70% of GDP, and provide 88% of employment. The government’s support for MSMEs is evident through the various initiatives; including empowerment funds, financing schemes, and skills development programs currently in place, he added.
He noted that government continued to encourage collaborations between the private sector and itself following the public private partnership (PPP) model in a bid to deliver results and services to the country.
“I am excited… to note that the Zambia Development Agency and FQM Trident Limited have come together to host this Business Clinic, which I have no doubt will go a long way in helping our small businesses to grow. We need every player to come on board so that we can help our SMEs, small scale farmers, those into small mining, etc. to grow,” he explained.
FQM Trident Limited, through the Trident Foundation Limited (TFL), has stepped up to support local businesses with the necessary technical and financial knowledge as well as a ready market wherever possible.
Frederic Wouters, Assistant General Manager of FQM Trident Limited, emphasised the importance of the business clinic in bringing together entrepreneurs with possible financiers and experts.
“The information and insights gained here shall serve as a catalyst for local businesses to reach new heights and support the mining value chain,” he stated.
“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 the life of mine.”
Samson Lovemore Simwanda, ZDA Assistant Director – Business Development, highlighted the importance of partnerships in driving economic transformation stating: “I am delighted to share that ZDA and the FQM – through the Trident Foundation Limited, are actively working towards forging an action plan with more impactful activities, events, and capacity building training programs. This collaborative effort is aimed at unlocking new opportunities for the Kalumbila district business community.”
The event received gratitude from attendees from far-flung areas in Kalumbila district, with the hardworking entrepreneurs such as Makina Womba, Jameson Kandinka Kalamba and Mirriam Samundengo sharing their success stories.
Makina Womba, the owner of Womba’s Bakery, expressed her gratitude to FQM and ZDA for helping her register her business and providing opportunities for skills development in catering. Her bakery is a testament to the impact of such initiatives.
Jameson Kandinka Kalamba invested K9,000 into farming and harvested about 500 heads of cabbage, making a profit of K16,000. Thanks to the business clinic, he registered his business and is now looking at securing financing for the expansion of the business which will also create employment in his community.
Mirriam Samundengo of Zangi Ya Kalunga Investment started her business with capital of K150, producing green charcoal from maize combs and cassava. Today, she earns at least K1,000 from a 50kg bag. She hopes to further expand her business with the procurement of a machine to enhance production and reach a wider market.
The Business Clinic in Kalumbila serves as an example of how collaboration between the government institutions and private sector organizations like ZDA and FQM can yield positive results by encouraging the growth of SMEs in the region, furthering the development of communities, improving livelihoods, and contributing to the country’s economic progress. These efforts not only stimulate economic diversification but also foster a resilient and prosperous business environment in rural Zambia.