BDS+ Special Focus Zambia: Three reasons to join a Training of Trainers in Zambia
Find out more about the opportunities SEED ToTs bring to BDS providers, and why our tools and training are a good fit for that market.
Through the Training of Trainers (ToT), SEED is helping Business Development Services (BDS) advisors and enterprises harness opportunities that arise from climate change.
Read on to find out about the opportunities and value SEED ToTs bring to BDS providers in a highly competitive environment, where networks can foster co-opetition rather than competition.
In Zambia, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the pillar of the economy, contributing to 70% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 88% of the employment, and representing 97% of all businesses in the country. To encourage the development of SMEs, and realise the multiple benefits that SMEs bring, the Zambian government, under its Seventh National Development Plan 2017–2021, has established a series of measures including the provision of business development services and improvement of access to funding.
Climate-related challenges and environmental degradation constitute a clear driver for the development of SMEs. Especially eco-inclusive SMEs, who see such challenges as opportunities to improve their businesses and their communities; providing new marketing opportunities, improving product quality and developing new products and services. We spoke with Patrick Shatamuka, Commercial & Business Development Specialist at WeCreate Zambia, who has witnessed how eco-inclusive approaches are helping enterprises in different sectors (especially agriculture) find opportunities where none were thought to exist.
Understanding the importance of SMEs, both in the development of the country and to tackle climate challenges, the Zambian government has introduced new policies and programmes such as a credit scheme with low interest, long-term loans to SMEs, and initiatives to foster skill development, strengthen value-chain linkages and provide business development services. Despite these positive moves, eco-inclusive enterprises can benefit from further assistance to grow and develop. As Mr. Shatamuka explains, even though enterprises see opportunities in environmental pressures, they need skill building and help on how to deal with these pressures, including help on risk management, technological, logistical and insurance assistance.
BDS providers have the potential to facilitate the development of these enterprises. But for that they themselves need the right skillset. Mr. Shatamuka explains that besides a need for skills, there is a lack of collaboration between BDS advisors, hindering peer-learning and complementarity between. The result is an overlap in the enterprises targeted, with BDS providers covering the same topics and stages of development, while leaving out other important topics or enterprises that are in another stage of development. Enterprises then cannot benefit from a comprehensive, quality training, and may even incur higher costs.
Through the training BDS providers can try to come together in identifying roles that each one needs to play across the value chain of enterprise development.
- Patrick Shatamuka, WeCreate Zambia
So, what opportunities do SEED ToTs bring to the table?
1. Capacity building for both enterprises and BDS providers
SEED ToTs provide high quality tools and a highly interactive, hands-on approach that is so needed in the country. BDS advisors gain access to practical tools and, as Mr. Shatamuka experiences, ToT methodology and tools “provoke the thought to think critically and dive deeper [...] learning every day”, leading them to increase their capacities and improve their training methods with entrepreneurs. When BDS advisors in turn, provide services to enterprises, they aid them in further developing their businesses, ultimately increasing the quality of the BDS sector and services in the country.
2. Contributing tangibly to the climate challenges facing Zambia
SEED helps build and develop eco-inclusive enterprises intervening where it is needed most: in tackling climate needs. SEED helps in raising awareness with eco-inclusive enterprises to identify and develop their impact in climate change adaptation and mitigation, but it can also help mainstream SMEs identify opportunities around their contribution to the environment.
This awareness and high capacities of BDS advisors, brings enterprises the assistance they need, to help them deal with environmental, especially climate related, issues.
3. Creating the much needed network of BDS providers
Creating co-opetition rather than competition between local and regional BDS providers. ToTs can help in structuring networks among BDS providers, and, as Mr. Shatamuka explains, through the training BDS providers can “try to come together in identifying roles that each one needs to play across the value chain of enterprise development”. By building a network and covering the different stages of the business development, not only the needs of the enterprises are met, but also the cost of delivery can be dispersed, thus reducing the cost for enterprises.
 International Trade Center. Promoting SME competitiveness in Zambia. 2019. http://www.intracen.org/publication/SME-Competitiveness-Zambia/