By Byron Mutingwende
The Simuka-Phakama 2018 Green enterPRIZE Innovation Challenge is creating a platform for green enterprise development and eco-innovation to thrive Zimbabwe by empowering the citizens and businesses, particularly the youth and women, to become drivers of green and decent jobs creation.
By facilitating their access to a tailored business development programme, supported by strategic alliances with business development service (BDS) providers and financial institutions, targeted emerging and established SMEs will expand their provision of green products and services and, as a long-term result, increase their business viability and contribution to the creation of green and decent jobs.
At the Green enterPRIZE Innovation ChallengeAwards Ceremony held on Friday 15 March 2019 in Harare, 27 winners and runners-upout of the 250 competing businesses were announced and awarded.
Business development and support services were delivered to the 27 winners and runners-up in the course of 12 months, by the ILO and a network of BDS providers and technical partners. In addition, 18 businesses across 9 categories received financial support.
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Sekai Nzenza, who was Guest of Honour of the Awards Ceremony, said the programme aligns with government’s macro-economic policies. These policies include the Rapid Results Initiative Programme, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and the Agenda 2030 towards decent job growth and the realisation of middle income status.
“The Green enterPRIZE initiative brings better opportunities which shall see participating businesses expanding to create more “green” and “decent” job opportunities for them and the nation at large.
“It is my conviction that, one of the fundamental actions out of our current employment market challenges, is the creation of productive, sustainable and decent jobs, within all sectors of the economy,” Minister Nzenza said.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Small to Medium Enterprises, Mr. David Nyakonda, Air Commodore Ivan Gibson Dumba, the Acting Secretary for Women Affairs, Community and Medium Enterprises Development hailed the International Labour Organisation and its partners for the initiative that he said saw the participation of 250 SMEs in promotion of employment creation and green enterprises development in the country.
The green enterprises covered areas of waste collection, retailing and recycling, renewable energy agriculture and agro-businesses.
Mette Sunnergren, the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden to Zimbabwe said she was honoured to come and witness the achievement of the milestone in the project they are supporting.
“We congratulate the ILO, its implementing partners and key stakeholders for the work done and achievements reached in this project so far. We are particularly amazed at use of ICT to reach out to as many women and youths as possible with green enterprises across the country,” Sunnergren said.
Ms Hopolang Phororo, ILO Director for ILO Country Office for Zimbabwe and Namibia shared reflections about the importance of supporting green entrepreneurship in an era where climate change is a reality and a threat that calls for sustainable development in all countries.
“The World of Work is going through an unprecedented period of transformative change, and that change brings with it, of course opportunity, but also feelings of uncertainty and even fear.
“The Global Commission identified three pillars for a human centered agenda for the future of work, focusing on a) investing in people; b) investing in the institutions of work; and c) investing in decent and sustainable work and presented 10 recommendations,” Ms. Phororo said.
She said the world needs innovative solution to reverse climate change. In this context, there are growing calls for alternative forms of business and new models of economic growth, where the impact of the environment is also factored into the bottom line.
“Enterprises are no longer assessed based only on traditional metrics but increasingly on the basis of their relationship with their workers, their customers and their communities, as well as their impact on society at large. We must no longer do business at the expense of the environment. Rather, we must conserve and preserve our environment.
“With this Green enterPRIZE challenge, we are therefore also contributing to a larger global movement about how to also shift business incentive structures towards environmental sustainability, so that businesses – like the ones you aspire to grow – can result in your legitimate quest for profit, but at the same time, do good by creating jobs and protecting the environment,” Phororo added.
The Innovation Challenge is being run by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. This business competition is part of the Green enterPRIZE Innovation & Development Programme in Zimbabwe, supported by the Government of Sweden.