Simuka-Phakama! Green businesses can catalyse meaningful changes to the Zimbabwean economy

On Friday 15 March 2019, 28 green business ideas from emerging and established small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) were celebrated at the Simuka-Phakama 2018 Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge Awards Ceremony. The business awards were delivered by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, with financial support from the Government of Sweden.

News | 18 March 2019
Contact(s): ILO Harare Office Tel +2634369806-12 Email: greenenterprize"ilo.org
The event took place the day after 56 finalists, competing across nine categories, pitched their green business plans to a panel of 20 judges. This initiative is part of ILO’s contribution to the transformation of the Zimbabwean economy by investing in a green economy and green entrepreneurship which has the potential to advance an inclusive Future for Work and tackle environmental degradation and unsustainable ways of doing business.

Addressing delegates during the official opening, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Honourable Sekai Nzenza said that exceptional green business ideas have the potential to transform societies and effect meaningful changes to the economy. Hon. Nzenza applauded the successful applicants of the Innovation Challenge and highlighted that this platform will provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to create new forms of productive and sustainable employment.

“This is just the beginning of bigger and better opportunities which will see your businesses expanding to create more ‘green’ and ‘decent’ job opportunities for yourselves and the nation at large. One of the fundamental actions out of our current employment market challenges, is the creation of sustainable and decent jobs within all sectors of the economy”

Honourable Minister


The Swedish Embassy Head of Development Cooperation / Deputy Head of Mission, Mette Sunnergren also congratulated all project stakeholders for achieving this
 milestone and acknowledged the effective use of online and offline promotion to encourage the participation of women and youth in the Simuka-Phakama Innovation Challenge.


We are happy to see our feminist foreign and development policy reflected in the work that we support: the selection process itself enabled a lot of the women and youth running enterprises to be mindful of the importance of taking care of the environment in the their day to day activities,”

Mette Sunnergren
Speaking on behalf of the Air Commodore I.G Dumba the Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Mr David Nyakonda, Director of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), commended the efforts put in place by the ILO and its implementing partners in delivering a highly innovative business competition.

“Today’s ceremony is a valid testament of ILO’s commitment comment to promoting employment creation and green enterprises development in Zimbabwe as we have just witness 28 prizes being awarded to the outstanding SME applicants” said the Director of SMEs.

The ILO Country Director for Zimbabwe and Nambia, Ms Hopolang Phororo pointed out that the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge seeks to invest in human capital by building the managerial and entrepreneurial capabilities of entrepreneurs.

Representing the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), Mr Tonderai Matongo expressed that the Employers were delighted by the diversity and innovation showcased by the contestants of the 2018 Simuka-Phakama Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge.

“I think it is a good day for enterprises in Zimbabwe when the respect and promotion of the environment is encouraged and rewarded” said Mr Matongo. “I also take this opportunity to express gratitude and show appreciation to the Government of Sweden. The financial support they have provided allows us to work toward achieving a Green Dream in Zimbabwe”, concluded the Employers’ representative.

Mr Nathan Banda representing the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) highlighted that “the Awards Ceremony has come at the time when there is serious desire to ensure the promotion of a just transition to a greener economy. The achievement of sustainable productive green jobs through skills development, entrepreneurship promotion as well as sustainable business practices is easily realized through such effective and innovative programmes” said Mr Banda, a ZCTU Safety and Health Officer.

A total of 256 registrations were received from across the country. Out of 117 full applications completed before the deadline, 90 finalists were shortlisted and received training sessions to improve their business plans. The 28 winners and runners- up will receive financial support and/or 12 months of business development services from the ILO and its business development service providers and technical partners as the business competition awards won. 

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