(HARARE, ILO News) The ILO Country Office Harare has launched the Simuka–Phakama Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge – a platform for green enterprise development targeting women and youth to drive the creation of a green economy with green and decent jobs in Zimbabwe.
The first edition of this business plan competition aims to identify 27 green and growth oriented enterprises across nine award categories, that will access business development services to boost innovation and job creation. Furthermore, all those applicants who are shortlisted will benefit from training and capacity building services.
Prizes for the challenge include technical and financial support to encourage eco-innovation and access to business development services to enable entrepreneurs to gain knowledge and skills to run their businesses more effectively. This presents a new opportunity for businesses ready to leap into a sustainable development path and turn the page of Zimbabwe’s economy.
The Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge is being implemented by the ILO with the financial support of the Government of Sweden, in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, under the theme, “Achieving sustainable, productive green jobs through skills development, entrepreneurship promotion and responsible business practices”.
Speaking at the official launch, the Principal Director of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Clifford Matorera, expressed the government’s appreciation of the programme in promoting job growth in Zimbabwe. He highlighted the numerous opportunities presented by the transition to a green economy, particularly in the energy sector, in line with the 2030 Agenda.
Ms Mette Sunnergren, Head of Development Cooperation for the Embassy of Sweden, expressed Sweden’s hope that, “the women and men who will take part will become green ambassadors for current and future generations and at the same time, creators of decent jobs for many more Zimbabweans.” She believes that the challenge will create awareness and generate a positive response from young entrepreneurs, who are encouraged to participate.
Guests at the event also had the opportunity to interact with Zimbabwe’s 33 year-old budding entrepreneur, Simbarashe Mhuriro, founder and Managing Director of
Oxygen Africa (Private) Limited. He shared the inspiring story of how he started his company and tapped into the “challenging opportunities” of Zimbabwe’s business environment, highlighting that
”the beauty about solar energy is that your product is consumed where it is produced”. Today, Oxygen Africa works with a strong team that possesses diverse engineering skills, to combine knowledge and operational expertise across a range of industries. In 2016, Forbes Magazine ranked Mr Mhuriro as one of the top 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa.
In her opening remarks, the Director of the ILO Country Office Harare, Ms Hopolang Phororo, pointed out that the Simuka-Phakama initiative would foster a culture of green entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise development and contribute to “raise and pursue our ambitions” as a country, as well as providing encouragement to institutions committed to making sustainable development a reality by 2030.
A high level panel discussion was moderated by Ms Ruzivo Chonyera – a Mandela Washington Fellow, who was awarded the 2017 Successful Zimbabwe Women Award for Breaking New Ground. During the discussion, the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni, noted that, “Green entrepreneurship cannot succeed without innovation and without participation from the youth”.
The discussion gathered views and insights on ‘how to support SMEs grow and create green decent jobs’ from an array of experts that included the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Thokozile Chitepo; the Founding Chairman of the SME Association of Zimbabwe, Mr Farai Mutambanengwe; the CEO of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust, Mr Godfrey Chinoera; and the CEO of Untu Capital Limited, Mr Clive Msipa.
The launch, which took place at The Venue in Harare, was streamed live on social media and attended by CEOs from the business sector, young entrepreneurs and development partners working with young people in Zimbabwe.
More information at: https://greenenterprize.co.zw