The impact of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) on the country’s economy cannot be ignored. They contribute largely, not just to the fiscus, but continue to fill the gap in providing services and products especially as the country is facing shortages of various commodities, a local business leader has said.
BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA
Speaking at the Harare Business Expo held in Harare last week, Rich Realms Business Solutions director Wadzanai Kurebgaseka, who was part of the organisers of the expo that brought over 60 SMEs, said it was, therefore, important that SMEs regularly conduct events such as expos and indabas in order to network and market their products.
The expo, which was jointly organised by Rich Realms and Royal Elegance Events, and sponsored by CardPro, a local plastic magnetic card manufacturer, and money transfer agent Mukuru, attracted various small to medium scale organisations operating in different sectors of the economy, including E Yellow Pages, Drillmark Bearings & Engineering Supplies, Benosien Motors, Mega Chemicals and Cleaning Services, KVC Holdings, Industrial Bolts and Hardware, Topchem, MyCash, Chadskill, Brite Africa Construction, Women Arise in Development, Complex Aluminum Systems and Askaud Real Properties, among others.
Royal Elegance Events director Tanyaradzwa Tanyanyiwa said: “Realising that Zimbabwe’s economy mainly constitutes of small to medium businessess,the expos hosted by Rich Realms Business Solutions and Royal Elegance Events companies were meant to assist small to medium scale companies get their companies known by their clients and growing the Zimbabwean SMEs in the process.
“We have many other expos, trainings and exhibition events lined up for next year to assist all small to medium businesses to realise their potential and attain growth in their respective areas through the various required ways of building small to medium businesses.”
The expo was held under the theme Linking Buyers and Sellers.
One of the exhibitors at the KVC Holdings stand said the expo successfully exposed his business to new potential clients.
“With more of these, we can grow, because as you can see, we manufacture various things, from detergents to household chemicals, and sometimes because we are small, our businesses are overshadowed by the bigger ones.
“In addition, this expo enabled us to connect with more potential retailers of our products, “ he said.
According to Kuregbaseka, over 1 000 people came to the expo and familiarised themselves with products and services that were being displayed.
In Zimbabwe, SMEs contributed $8,58 billion to the country’s GDP in 2016 and employ more than 5,9 million people (over 75% of the total workforce of 7,8 million people).
Furthermore, SMEs now make up over 70% of Zimra’s database of registered taxpayers while contributing only 20% in taxes.
However, despite this contrtiibution, SMEs continue to fail to transition to big businesses mainly due to their informal nature, and the lack of financial and business training, and failure to access financial support from banking institutions.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, only 3,78% of the total loans and advances by Zimbabwean banks go towards the SMEs sector.
SMEs, therefore, often lack capital to extend their businesses, and according to Tanyanyiwa, the purpose of the expo, and various trainings they hold is to enhance the financial management of those running SMEs.
“The idea therefore is that they utilise the small profit margins to extend their businesses slowly and we provide that platform through such an expo and trainings,” he said.