Note from ZNCC
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) is set to host the 10th Edition of the Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards (WECA) on September 29, 2023 at the Zimbali Events and Lifestyle Centre, Harare.
This year’s conference will run under the theme: “Transforming Economic Realities into Market Opportunities”. Previous WECA events have seen many women improve their enterprises through knowledge sharing, networking and women being recognised in their different spheres of operation.
Exciting programmes to capacitate and upscale women-owned businesses have been introduced since the inception of the Women’s Desk. This year’s WECA promises to be exciting as we will explore different topics to benefit women’s businesses.
The ZNCC Women’s Desk was established in 2013, after the realisation that women were not taking part in mainstream business member organisations. The main objective of the Women’s Desk (WD) is to help women create or scale up their businesses and to assist women to grow in their chosen professions.
The Women’s Desk is focused, on adding value to the Chamber’s mandate, by ensuring that the business potential of women entrepreneurs is unleashed through its various activities.
The 2023 Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards come at a time when the Chamber, in partnership with UNDP Zimbabwe, is conducting Training Workshops for women entrepreneurs around Zimbabwe. So far, two Training Workshops have been successfully conducted in Chinhoyi from September 4 to 5, 2023 and September 12 and 13, 2023 in Masvingo.
The Training Workshop in Chinhoyi was facilitated by lecturers from the Chinhoyi University of Technology Graduate Business School which included Professor Marian Tukuta, Dr Grace Kudakwashe Ngorora-Madzimure, and Dr Murebwa. The Masvingo team included lecturers from the Great Zimbabwe University.
The discussions under the Training Workshop are a build-up to the 2023 Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards which promises to be exciting given the line-up of topics, speakers, and panelists.
The topics to be discussed include Her Story:
An Entrepreneur’s Journey of Challenges, Perseverance, and Triumph — Celebrating 10 Years of the Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards; Navigating the Legal & Regulatory Environment:
Overcoming Challenges and Barriers that Women Entrepreneurs Face in Starting and Growing their Businesses; Leveraging the Digital Economy for Accelerated Growth among Women-Owned Enterprises; and Strengthening Policy and Institutional Frameworks, Funding and Networks to Advance Women Entrepreneurship.
Participants will surely benefit by attending this Conference through the sharing of business ideas and information, business-to-business and business-to-government networking, and exhibition spaces are also available.
The Zimbabwean economy is considered to be filled with legal and regulatory complexities that hinder the participation of women in enterprise.
Such legal and regulatory complexities are also considered deterrents for women to start up and grow their business ventures.
Restrictive legal and regulatory frameworks can increase the difficulties faced in the processes of registering a business or opening a bank account and may prevent women from venturing into the corporate world.
The Panel Discussion on this topic seeks to air out those rules and regulations that stand as barriers to women’s entrepreneurship in the context of Zimbabwe and Africa at large for the benefit of the participants and policymakers.
The key focus is on the current laws and regulations that are in place to foster women’s participation in the economy and those that still stand as a challenge, if any, to the progress of women in business.
SMEs, of which the majority are owned by women and youth, are considered to be the engine for economic growth and development, and opportunities do extend beyond borders.
Despite huge opportunities and high potential, women-owned enterprises do face challenges in terms of access to digital solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and finance technologies such as cryptocurrency, among others. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic has caused the majority of business transactions and business to be conducted online.
However, access to digital technologies is still beyond the reach of the majority of women-owned businesses and some are even unaware of the technology advancement taking place.
Within the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital technology has come up with its benefits by enhancing productivity, real-time access to information, and revamping production processes.
In this regard, women-owned businesses, which are considered to be lagging behind in terms of technology adoption, are expected to benefit from this Panel Discussion as they get to understand and appreciate how the digital economy can be utilized to establish digital footprints, accelerate the growth of their businesses, and tape into regional and international markets.
Strengthening policy and institutional frameworks, funding, and networks to advance women’s entrepreneurship looks at the women-owned business itself in terms of the organizational policies and strategic choices that are critical in advancing reach, networks, and the firm’s ability to get funding on the financial market.
Poor policy and institutional frameworks threaten the firm’s prospects of obtaining finance and maintaining relationships with financiers, customers, and suppliers. Ways in which women-owned businesses can strengthen their organizational policies and institutional setups will be explored.
The full-day conference will be capped off with an Awards Dinner in the evening. Do not miss out on this exciting Conference, both men and women are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Ms Melody Kaingidza ([email protected])
This article was prepared by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce for Business Weekly