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US$5m project for SMEs in Chiredzi

THE Zimbabwe Chamber of Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Chiredzi has invested about US$5 million in a housing project where its members in the Lowveld town can live and work.

The Zimbabwe Chamber of SMEs held a strategic conference held over three days in Chiredzi in which they launched a SME data capturing electronic platform to support the government’s formalisation process.

Zimbabwe Chamber of SMEs secretary general Valencio Kurauone said the money came from their members, mainly, the youth, widows, men, and women of Chiredzi.

Kurauone said the purpose of the project was to house all vendors and SMEs on the streets of Chiredzi.

“What we are doing here is constructing SME centres with the idea of housing all SMEs and vendors on the streets to formalise the group and the sector,” he said.

“We saw that the struggles that were always happening between the vendors and the police were not doing us any good. So here, we are on phase three of the project.

“So, where we are now, 100 people are supposed to work here and there are people of different trades.

“At the SME centre, where we went first, there are already 226 people operating from there.

“There is also another mall in Buffalo Range where we are expecting 100 people to operate.

“So, for all these projects, we are looking at a US$5 million investment. We got this money from the men, women, widows, and the youth of Chiredzi.”

“The US$5 million is money that came from us SMEs without any funding from banks, investors, or financial institutions helping us.

“We just came together as SMEs and thought that we should do these projects so that we fast track the process to formalisation.”

Chiredzi mayor Jamson Charumbira said the project would help to formalise SMEs in the town.

“We as the people of Chiredzi, partnered with the Chamber of SMEs to do projects here in Chiredzi from Msasa Drive and we managed to build 206 shop stalls where the SMEs are already operating from there,” he said.

“After that, the shop owners decided to build a shed for the outdoor sellers where 120 vendors are also already operating for free.”

He noted that the project was catering for all the SME sub sectors until they upgrade to big businesses.

“The next project is the one here where we are building 92 shops, which are bigger than the stall that you saw there close to Msasa Drive,” Charumbira said.

“We did this project as a movement from small enterprises to medium enterprises, which will be operating on a larger scale.”

He said the town needed the projects to flourish and for the Chamber to reach out to other areas of the country with similar ideas and concepts.

Charumbira appealed to all the stakeholders,, who attended the conference to join the investment drive to support building SME infrastructures.

“All these projects were started last year, and we are aiming to finish all these projects by the end of this year. We are happy with the progress we have made,” he said.

“We want all these stakeholders,who came to this event to partner with us so that we can build these buildings with the target that by the time we get to 2030, the buildings will still be appealing.”

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