By Byron Mutingwende
The Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge has been hailed for creating employment for the youths and supporting sustainable enterprise development.
The Acting Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Ziyambi Ziyambiat made the remarks at the official launch of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 2019 Northern Region Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge in Harare on Monday 2 September 2019.
“The Government of Zimbabwe expresses its keen interest in the capacity of the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge to not only create employment for the unemployed young men and women but to also support sustainable enterprise development,” Mr. Ziyambi said.
He noted that the creation of new employment opportunities should culminate into environmental sustainable practices and reiterated the need for government to promote green industries while ensuring the incorporation of decent work components in the jobs to be created.
“It is against this background that the Government of Zimbabwe is increasing its investment in renewable energy through the setting up of policies and institutional framework to promote the development of green industries.
“You may have noted the adoption of sustainable practices in the energy sector through the active involvement of government institutions and independent power producers to explore opportunities in solar and biogas,” Mr. Ziyambi added.
Ms Hopolang Phororo, the Director of the ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe and Namibia, in a speech read on her behalf, paid tribute to the Government of Sweden, whose funding made the Green enterPRIZE Innovation and Development Project and the competition possible.
She also acknowledged the great contribution provided by the project partners, the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions and the Business Development Service providers whose continuous technical support brought the project to life and has been contributing to identify innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.
The ILO Director underscored the fact that the intervention seeks to foster a culture of green entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise development by increasing the viability of businesses and demonstrating the potential for green jobs creation across all economic sectors.
Ms Phororo said as a result of the 2018 competition, 28 SMEs from Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Matebeleland South and Midlands are currently benefiting from the delivery of financial and business development services as winners in the previous competition. Similarly, 56 additional finalists will have access to training services in the course of the year. The majority of them are young entrepreneurs, and about 40% are women.
Mette Sunnergren, the Head of Development Cooperation and Deputy Head of Mission of the Swedish Embassy in Zimbabwe was pleased by the fact that the ILO added the component of arts and culture to the categories that will compete in the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge.
“The added value of this approach is the amplification of the message to the target market on the importance of green jobs and sustainable enterprises,” Ms Sunnergren said.
She added that Sweden would want to see improved female representations in the finals for the competition.
“We did note at the awards earlier this year that there were 38 % females of the total shortlisted finalists; 32 % of the finalists were female; and of the total winners, 40 % were females. It would be good to close this gap and offer equal opportunities to all. We desire to see Sweden’s feminist foreign and development policy reflected in all the interventions that we support.”
Courtesy of the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge, some of the young entrepreneurs are managing already established enterprises, others just started down the entrepreneurial path. Most of them are running green businesses in emerging sectors, such as renewable energy and waste management while others are seeking to reduce the environmental footprint of traditional sectors, such as manufacturing, services and agriculture.
The young entrepreneurs are striving to make a difference, for themselves, their families and their communities, and to prove that a transition to a green economy is possible, makes business sense and offers a tangible avenue for employment creation in Zimbabwe. A human centred approach is at the heart of their businesses and this resonates very well with the Global Commission Report on the Future of Work: Work for a Brighter Future.
To demonstrate such solutions to society as a result of the Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge, Piwai Chikasha, a 28-year-old man from Hatfield, in partnership with Takudzwa Chipadza (28) has come up with a technological innovation to address a number of challenges faced by farmers when spraying their crops, the spraying drone.
“We realised that most farmers in Zimbabwe experience a number of challenges with their crops when it coms to controlling pests and diseases. When there was the problem of fall armyworm in Southern Africa, most farmers lost their entire crops because they were incapacitated to comprehensively respond to the challenge.
“Apart from the fall armyworm, farmers who grow tomatoes, lettuce, cabbages, oranges and potatoes battle with pests and diseases which usually destroy their crops. Cognisant of such challenges, we thought of a solution and came up with the idea of adopting drone technology that will many farmers in responding to these challenges,” said Takudzwa Chipadza on the side-lines of the launch.
The Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge has also benefitted Elizabeth Nyamuda who has come up with a green innovation that brings solutions to challenges faced by women during menstruation.
Elizabeth Nyamuda, a 33-year-old female entrepreneur runs Tamba Washables. Tamba Washables is a sole proprietorship manufacturing cloth diaper and related products. Its products are proudly crafted locally to the highest quality using domestic and imported materials.
“When you use cloth diapers not only are you saving the environment by reducing waste in our landfills and the amount of trees cut down to make once- off use diapers but as a green oriented parent, you are saving financially. I am glad that my company is now duly registered and very soon I will be paying tax so as to contribute to the fiscus,” said Elizabeth.
Besides group training initiatives that will start this September, the ILO is providing individual mentorship support, thanks to the involvement of experts and CEOs who have also been part of the judging panel. This is to ensure that each and every company will find its space to grow.