Thursday, 21 April 2016

UKAID-FUNDED B2B WEB PORTAL SET TO PROPEL SMES FORWARD

By MacPherson Mukuka *in Lusaka*

Corporations In Zambia Endorse New Local Procurement Initiative

Top representatives from some of Zambia’s leading multi-national companies have placed a stamp of approval on an imminent online platform that links small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to multinational and national corporations under the Private Enterprise Programme - Zambia’s Business Linkages Component.

 Representatives from Chibuluma mines, First Quantum Mineral (FQM), Shoprite Zambia, , SABMiller Zambia, Saro, Spar, Total Zambia Woolworths, and Zambeef  met at Lusaka’s Intercontinental hotel to hear the progress made on the development of the business-to-business website appropriately dubbed, “zamb2b”.

“zamb2b falls within the framework of the Business Linkages Programme whose goal is to facilitate corporations doing business in Zambia to actively engage in local sourcing, matchmaking and supplier development. The programme puts in place practical solutions to information flow failures that hinder linkages between the corporations and local SMEs, and zamb2b is one of those solutions,” said Business Linkages Programme Manager, Donia Benmiloud.

 The CEO of the IT company Digital Africa, Chiphazi Banda said: “We designed the online portal in such a way that it will provide sector-specific information to both small-scale businesses that seek to supply their products and services to large multinational firms, which seek to procure quality local products without necessarily dropping their standards.”

Greater business linkages between large firms that dominate the economy and local suppliers can help to link lead industries to sectors in which the poor are employed, harness the purchasing power of large businesses to develop the “missing middle” of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and transfer technology to enable potentially transformative enterprises to fulfil their potential. Greater linkages would contribute to broader, more inclusive growth and address the chronic deficit of jobs in the country.
Source: Langmead and Baker
Members of the Private Enterprise Programme - Zambia (PEPZ)  Business Linkages Programme steering committee of leading company representatives examine the new zambiab2b web portal for SME suppliers

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