PRIVATE Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEP-Z) in partnership with the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) and the Zambia Chamber of Mines is to launch an online database for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve their performances.
PEP-Z is a five-year project funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) that aims to build and strengthen the capacity of Zambian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the private sector to create jobs and contribute to the diversification of the economy.
PEPZ business linkages manager Andrew Kambobe said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could gain access to new markets and demonstrate their capabilities to larger customers under the initiative being developed.
Mr Kambole said the online database will enable big businesses to increase local content in their supply chains.
“Information is vital for an efficient market and this new database will bridge that gap by giving entrepreneurs wider access to customers who can often seem difficult to connect with,
“Equally it gives corporate access to an untapped pool of reliable skills and resources within the country,” he said.
He explained that once the database was live at www.zamb2b.com, registered corporations, known as anchor firms, would be able to search the site for potential suppliers, while SMEs could look for opportunities that match their capabilities.
He said the website was expected to be officially launched in mid-October during the ZAM Manufacturing Week., with more than 50 SMEs being targeted for initial inclusion, although that number is expected to grow during the life of the project.
Mr Kambole stated that the organisation encouraged local suppliers to be more robust and competitive in their delivery of products and services to the larger firms and added that the database was part of PEPZ’s strategy to nurture and encourage inclusive growth through entrepreneurship.
He said PEPZ, through its Business Linkages component, presented details of the database during the ZAM SME workshop at the just-ended Copperbelt Mining Trade, Expo and Conference in Kitwe.
“The suppliers will undergo a business diagnostic exercise that will appraise their capability to supply to the respective sectors.
More than 100 SMEs have been identified for this purpose in association with anchor companies such as Shoprite, Zambeef, Sun International and mines including Chibuluma Mines PLC, Konkola Copper Mines, Mopani Copper Mines PLC and Kalumbila Minerals PLC,” he said.