THREE Self Help Groups (SHGs) walked away with prizes worth three thousand dollars (3000usd) at the inaugural Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Market Linkages Project (MLP) Enterprise competition held in Ward 1 Bulilima District on Monday.
Great Hope SHG, which has successfully set up a horticultural garden in Ward 1, won the competition and was awarded a productive investment voucher valued at US$1 500. Tjonanayila was the first runner up and received a US$1 000 productive investment voucher for its sterling performance in detergent making in Ward 4.
Imvuselelo SHG, which is into goat rearing and poultry in ward 14 took the third prize, and walked away with a US$500 productive investment voucher.
Bulilima Rural District Council Assistant Executive Social Services Officer Mbonisi Moses Maphosa, who was Guest of Honour at the event, commended the enterprise competition as it helps to boost the winning entrepreneurs’ businesses and encourages others to work harder.
“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe modular trainings have really helped entrepreneurs, the way they do business has now improved and it quite impressive. The provision of look and learn tours and linking entrepreneurs to markets through commodity clusters and expos has also helped them improve sales and as a result improve their livelihoods,” he said.
Maphosa encouraged members to register their SHGs as companies and also come up with sustainability strategies.
Patience Zambuko, a member of Great Hope self-help group, said the prize money will go a long way in growing their horticultural garden, which will in turn improve the livelihoods of members and support local communities.
“We are very excited for winning the first prize. It’s exhilarating to know that someone has recognised all our hard work and efforts. We will soon sit down and decide how to invest our prize,” she said in an interview.
The successful competition, which attracted more than 300 community members, was made lively by entertainment from the clearly happy entrepreneurs.
Various stakeholders from Government Ministries, entrepreneurs, community leaders, other Self Help Groups, Headman, Village heads, and Chiefs were also in attendance at the enterprise competitions.
The enterprise competitions will also take place in the organisation’s remaining six (6) districts of operation namely Chikomba, Chirumanzu, Gwanda, Lupane, Nkayi and Shurugwi in the next two (2) months.
Hand in Hand Zimbabwe which has a huge presence in the selected districts, is using the competitions to support entrepreneurs with investment capital that will enhance their produce so as to grow their businesses and access better markets.
The Market Linkages Project focuses on complimenting already established enterprises under Hand in Hand Zimbabwe projects such as the Jobs Creation Project, Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth Project, Green Enterprises Project and Community Upliftment Project through strengthening access to finance and market linkages in selected value chains such as horticulture, small livestock, apiculture and food processing in order to boost productivity, competitiveness, high income and sustainability.
The three-year project which commenced in June 2019 is set to end in May 2022 and targets 512 entrepreneurs. It is fully funded by the Osterberg Foundation.