Speaking at the Trade Symposium organised for SMEs in Blantyre, Chief Executive Officer for SMEDI, Rhodrick Chataika, said small and medium enterprises fail to make good inroads on the market due to inadequate capital he then called on financial institutions to open up and create products tailored for the needs of the sector.
“There are critical factors that have to nurture the innovation process. One has to do with the culture of the potential market, access to knowledge, how they can access innovative ideas and the most important factor is access to finance. Access to finance is very important because these SMEs if they get financing with very strict conditions or guidelines. What we are saying is SMEs need financing that has favourable terms so that they can invest in research and development of their products,” said Chataika.
Other organisations in attendance were Small enterprise Development Cooperation (SDC), NBS Bank and Kwese TV who were key sponsors for the symposium.
Chief Executive Officer for SDC, McDonald Mkandawire said, their focus is to see that SMEs in the country have developed to the point of exporting to foreign markets.
He said, “Malawi has been a predominantly consuming nation and that has been a circle for years on end. At the same time we look at innovations that we can employ that are within our reach which will help our country grow economically.”
On his part, Country Manager for Kwese TV, Wonder Msiska, said as a company in broadcasting field they are contributing to the growth of SMEs in the country because they beam business programs on the two dedicated channels that promotes development of businesses.
“We strive to provide the best in terms of business programming. On our network we have dedicated channels for business development. We have Kwese Inc and Kwese Norm. These channels teach our audience critical components of business such as idea generation, proposal writing, raising capital and how to grow the business in general so we are partnering with SMEs so that we help them see how others are doing it at the global level,” said Msiska.
The trade symposium drew participants operating in tailoring, shoe making, food and other business niches. It was held under the theme Value Innovation for Sustainable Exports Growth and Economic Development.