Empowering Business Women in Zimbabwe Through Export Trade
By Munyaradzi Dzimunwe, 2021 Goldin Global Fellow, Zimbabwe
In my voluntary role as the national board member for COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB) Zimbabwe Chapter, I was involved in organizing a training event which took place on March 15th and 16th at Cresta Oasis, Harare. The training provided information and guidance for women entrepreneurs on the export market and trade processes. Women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe are struggling to sell their products on international markets due to a lack of knowledge on these issues. The goods produced and processed by these women could benefit more people if they were made available internationally.
To ensure the training would be effective, we partnered with the International Trade Center’s “She Trades” platform who offered expert trainers. The sessions covered a broad range of topics, including but not limited to, product formulation, role and selection of distributors and agents, packaging, branding , and corporate governance. Furthermore, women completed a self-assessment tool of their businesses to identify areas of improvement.
Participants reported that the training had opened their eyes to the world of export trade and they were inspired to get started right away. Driven by the ambition to start in one year, they came together to start a public limited company! They had realized that running an export business would require extensive management and capital investment. So teaming up with each other was an obvious solution. They have chosen to consult with me on a regular basis to help guide them through the initial processes of the company formation. Additionally, I have also purchased shares in the company and will be serving as the company’s vice secretary.
I am so impressed by the participants for having decided to stick together and move forward as one. Their diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills will become critical as they start operations. I am excited to see the dream of a female-led export company becoming a reality! I think their willingness not only to work together but also to own an equal number of shares in the company is a recipe for success. We contributed 5 USD each to raise funds for registration of the company which is already underway. I will lead the asset mapping exercise as we prepare to start operations. The event was featured in an article by the Sunday Mail news where you can learn more our work with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).