Standard Bank PLC has launched the second cohort of the Phuka Business Incubation with an announcement of a K10 million prize money to the best-pitched business idea among Phuka incubates for Agribusinesses.
The bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Banking, Graham Chipande, announced the relaunch at a ceremony in Lilongwe.
Phuka Incubator for Agribusiness is Standard Bank’s programme which is aimed at empowering small and medium enterprises and equipping them with skills and knowledge to propel their business to greater heights.
Chipande said the the 2023 edition is sector specific with the focus being on SMEs in the agribusiness sector. He said the bank apart from its usual partnership with Synergy has also partnered with the Centre for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) to develop a wholesome and impactful experience with expertise from CAT.
He said this year’s incubates will be introduced to investors, gain experience and receive valuable feedback from industry experts.
“Standard Bank is committed to transforming the economic landscape through sectors that contribute to the development of the country. We believe that together we can create a brighter and sustainable future for the agricultural industry.
“We will continue to be a key driver of the Agribusiness value chain in Malawi to enable efficiency of every player in the sector. We hope that the innovation around our Phuka Incubator Hub will benefit the industry in the long run. Our call is for all the incubates to make full use of the period to ensure sustainability and growth of their businesses,” said Chipande.
On his part, the Executive Director for CAT, Macloud Nkhoma, expressed the need for mindset change among entrepreneurs on the importance of partnerships.
“So far we have failed to progress in business because of individualism. Oftentimes times most SMEs do not want to venture into business partnerships which is bad for progress. This is why I implore businesses to consider partnerships because it gives room for more interventions that are successful and sustainable. The private sector, the donor community, government departments, NGOs and the financial sector ought to embrace business partnerships. If you look at the Malawi 2063 pillar number 1, it emphasizes agricultural productivity, diversification and commercialization. So to achieve that agenda of Malawi 2063 particularly pillar 1 and number 2 which talks about industrialization no single player can succeed on their own, hence partnerships will be very crucial and extremely important to catalyze us to achieve this Malawi 2063 vision so that we become a country that is producing, earning forex and succeeding in all that we do,” said Nkhoma.
“Opportunities will always be there and entrepreneurs should always have eyes open and ears wide to always look for opportunities that always present themselves. For instance, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area will open up huge market opportunities and Malawi being an Agro-based economy there are several opportunities that entrepreneurs can seize by adding value to products that are being demanded out there,” he added.
Through its partnership with CAT and Synergy Labs, Standard Bank plans to enrol 70 entrepreneurs in Agriculture and take them through 6 weeks of intensive training on business management during the 2023 edition of the Phuka Incubator for Agribusinesses.