SMEs drivers of economic development-Mwanakatwe

ZAMBIA needs to foster a culture of entrepreneurship to develop the economy, says Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.

Ms Mwanakatwe said young entrepreneurs in Zambia needed support to accelerate the development of their projects.

She was speaking at the launch of the ‘‘Start-upper of the Year by Total’’ awards ceremony sponsored by Total Zambia in Lusaka.

“Ideas deserve support, especially great ones. And promising ideas deserve a helping hand.  Our young entrepreneurs need this kind of support to accelerate the development of their projects,” she said.

Ms Mwanakatwe congratulated Total Zambia for consistently coming up with ways through which the Zambian people could improve their standards of living across the country.

He advised Total Zambia to continue encouraging the professional development of recently graduated students through the “Young Graduates” programme with internship positions granted to graduating students selected by UNZA and the Copperbelt University.

And Total Zambia managing director Damien Ricour-Dumas said entrepreneurs were problem solvers and the Start-upper challenge asked members of the public to demonstrate how their business could make a difference in the community.

“This initiative supports projects that are dealing with the challenges in the community.

“Total has chosen three innovative projects from the numerous submissions received that we believe will inspire, create, invest, hire and produce in order to transform our communities,” he said.

Mr Andrew Nguvu won the first prize of K190,000 with his ‘‘Kasumbi’’ poultry project; the second prize of K120,000 went to  Mwila Lwando for the live clean project and K80,000 went to Mr Andrew Musona for his fishing enterprise.

The “Start-upper of the Year by Total” challenge, held in 34 African countries, is part of Total’s policy of supporting the socio-economic development of all its host countries worldwide.

It is a concrete initiative to help strengthen the industrial base and employment locally by helping the boldest, most innovative entrepreneurs carry out their projects.

The contest aimed to foster new initiatives in Africa while upholding Total’s core values.