By Owen Mandovha
ZIMBABWE trade development and promotion body- ZimTrade’s gender inclusive policy has seen a growing number of female-owned enterprises being assisted to penetrate the export market as part of efforts to economically empower the girl child.
Three individuals who are part of the 15-member business delegation that is on a ZimTrade outward trade mission in the commercial city of Blantyre in Malawi, are part of the NextSheExporter programme which seeks to nurture female-owned businesses with zero export experience to record their first export sale.
The trio includes 25-year-old Catholic University student Kudzai Mpande.
“The NextSheExporter programme is helping me understand the export market better since I started my business a few years back. I have not yet exported but I’m getting exposure and more understanding of what is required for one to succeed in this market,” said an aspiring exporter.
“The program is eye opening for real and as a farmer who is expanding into horticulture I have been able to learn the ropes quite quickly in understanding the trade dynamics. So, hats off to Zimtrade for their programmes which have seen us coming here,” noted another.
ZimTrade Director of Operations Mr Similo Nkala highlighted the impact of the programme in helping small businesses to harness their export capacity.
“The NextSheExporter has seen a lot of young women without any export experience being enrolled for the programme and as you witnessed some of the graduates are here with us. The purpose of this is to fast track them into the export business because doing that on their own will definitely take time and slow our progress towards achieving our national export growth target,” said Nkala.
The ZimTrade approach dovetails with Government’s gender policy across the socio-economic spectrum which seeks to entrench gender equality, thereby ensuring that women have equal access to opportunities just like their male counterparts.