MARKET LINKAGES PROJECT (MLP)

The Market Linkages Project’s is being implemented in seven (7) districts of operation
namely Bulilima, Chikomba, Chirumanzu, Gwanda, Lupane, Nkayi and Shurugwi.
The three-year project which commenced in June 2019 is set to end in December 2020 and
targets 512 entrepreneurs. It is fully funded by the Osterberg Foundation.
The objective of the project is to increase the incomes of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe´s
supported entrepreneurs and boost enterprises´ sustainability through the establishment of
market linkages with high-value input and output markets.
The project seeks to reinforce access to markets and access to finance for entrepreneurs
supported by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. The project focuses on complimenting already
established enterprises under JCP, MEY, Green Enterprises and CUP 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.
To enhance already established enterprises under Hand in Hand Zimbabwe projects,
entrepreneurs in selected enterprises are expected to receive specific technical trainings
tailor-made according to their individual needs. Technical skills support the entrepreneurs in
their enterprises thereby increasing productivity.
Through the Market Linkages Project, entrepreneurs are capacitated to form cluster and
commodity associations for collective efficiency in marketing. Look and learn exchange visits
of cluster committees are undertaken. Enterprise Competitions are held between
participating groups to enhance competitiveness.
Through this project, entrepreneurs are capacitated on market engagement, conducting
market survey including full market assessment on high value markets. Entrepreneurs
undergo trainings, mentoring and coaching sessions on engaging with markets to enhance
their bargaining skills.
To increase productivity, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe´s revolving fund plays a pivotal role in
boosting the enterprises supported by the project in the form of micro-loans. Microloans
are facilitated through the Revolving Fund as well as through contacts with external financial
linkages. Hand in Hand Zimbabwe coordinates with micro-finance and lending institutions
with a view of promoting access to alternative sources of funds. Hand in Hand Zimbabwe,
however, seeks to ensure that 60% of the population benefitting from loans are women and
youth.
Through this project, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe facilitates platforms for entrepreneurs to
networking with other value chain actors through market fairs at ward and district level and
participation in business expos and exhibitions where entrepreneurs market and sell their
products.