By Taonga Sabola:
The African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) on Friday scooped the Best Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Best Exhibitor Award during the SME Expo organized by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) organised.
The expo was held under the theme ‘SME Growth Through Business Linkages’.
AICC Agribusiness Acceleration Initiative Project Manager, Nyembezi Lungu, said the organisation was happy to win the award.
“We don’t take this award for granted. Our agribusiness acceleration project wants to help SMEs to grow and excel. This award makes us believe that as we are able to see our impact on the initiatives that we undertake.
“This award makes us believe that we can do more and indeed we will do more and make sure that the SMEs we work with bring a difference to the communities in which they operate their businesses,” Lungu said.
AICC is implementing the Agribusiness Acceleration Initiative (AAI) which Norad is funding.
The project aims at increasing capacity of the highest potential SME agribusinesses to deliver market services to the smallholder market and build commercial partnerships between SME agribusinesses, large scale agribusinesses, input suppliers, financiers, output market players, supportive service providers and other market actors.
MCCCI President, Prince Kapondamgaga, said the SME sector had been acknowledged worldwide as an economic powerbase to stimulate economic growth.
He said small and medium-sized businesses were not merely necessary, but vital in an emerging and growing economy like Malawi.
Kapondamgaga said the constraints that SMEs continue to face in their operations were daunting, saying this has had a negative impact on their growth and also limited their potential to drive the national economy as expected.
“One of the obstacles for small scale businesses that derail their growth, or even lead to their actual collapse, is lack of proper financing measures. The 2012 Malawi MSME survey established that 59 percent of SMEs were excluded from financial services, as opposed to 31 percent that are formally served by some sort of financial system, with the rest of the sector relying on informal services.
“Access to finance therefore remains a major barrier to growth as SMEs cannot find the financing they need. This leads to a loss in potential growth for the entire economy,” Kapondamgaga said.
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