Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are set to benefit from business training and support, thanks to a business development programme to be launched by business incubation specialist KBA Africa. The programme has the backing of Zimbabwean Youth Ministry and the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development.

KBA Africa, an African SME development organisation specialising in accelerating the growth of start-ups and early stage business, will deliver the business incubator. This is on the back of successful pilot projects, KBA has now opened applications for its largest–ever BootCamp, to be staged in Harare.

The BootCamp will empower 200 entrepreneurs, equipping them with skills and business toolkits, after which 50 participants will be selected for a 12-month business incubation programme.

AgnesHove1Agnes Chikukwa-Hove, CEO of KBA Africa, says that the key to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development lies in empowering small business and supporting the growth of a middle class in the country. “However, while the SME sector is crucial to Africa’s growth, currently contributing more than 45% to employment and 33% to GDP, a large proportion of new businesses fail. This is often due to funding challenges, but also – and sometimes more importantly – due to a lack of strategic business skills,” she explains.

Chikukwa-Hove is no new-comer to the realm of business development in Southern Africa, having successfully hosted Makamba Online’s inaugural African Entrepreneurship Exchange in February of this year.

“We often find that small businesses think they need to secure loans in order to grow. What we say to them is sometimes funding is not the biggest challenge; sometimes it’s the ability to reposition your business, address your operations and marketing. In fact, financing comes at a high cost and it can put a stranglehold on the business. In many cases, it may be better to grow organically and look at the tools, technologies and strategies you have around you to support this growth,” Chikukwa-Hove goes on to say.

The BootCamp will elaborate on viable business growth strategies, giving participants practical business development tools and access to business partner networks designed to support business success. Chikukwa-Hove says that the programme includes a number of innovative approaches, including; a targeted incubation selection algorithm and an advanced Trade Exchange Network (TradeX); access to (remove sustained) growth phase capital; access to a Pan-African Crowdfunding platform; a unique SME Bootcamp approach incorporating Scenario Planning and Trend Mapping, and the deployment of a bespoke Supervisory Board for SMEs.

“In addition to the securing support of Zimbabwean Government Ministries focused on youth empowerment and business development, we are also working with a global strategists Kjaer Global, specialising in trend mapping around the impact of disruptive technologies on business, as well as crowdfunding platform Thundafund, to ensure that our entrepreneurs benefit from access to world-class and modern approaches to building and running their businesses,” says Chikukwa-Hove.

Applications to participate in the BootCamp have been extended to 22 August 2016 and the BootCamp will take place from 2-4 September in Harare.