Quoting Tim Sanders, “Education without application is just entertainment.” A journey embarked by 17 entrepreneurs in April 2020 saw 14 of them graduating their businesses with at ranged from ideation stage to reality. Bizcubation program which offers 6 months intensive coaching on business development support is the answer to startup and existing businesses.
Sichali: The graduates were eager to learn
Patience Sichali who is the Bizcubation Program Officer at Mzuzu E Hub says the cohort that has graduated this year showed eagerness to learn and form networks with business gurus that already exists in various business communities that these graduates are aligned to.
Agness Maliana, owner of Maliana Agness designs lauds the program for opening doors for her through mentorship and networking.
“I was paired with one of the renowned designers in Mzuzu who took me in as a mentee and since then, I have looked at designing from another perspective. My mentor has taught me that it is possible to start small and grow big if one puts in hard work and resilience. I have managed to grow my team from one person to 5 people including a photographer and models,” beamed Maliana.
Agness wears a Mariana Agness Design during the graduation
But Maliana’s is not the only story of success to come out of the Bizcubation program. One Dennis Chitowe, Founder and Managing Director of Mzuzu Dairy attributes the power of networking and using key knowledge found in the program for business management and growth.
Chitowe who has managed to use locally available resources for his manufacturing company that makes yoghurt in strawberry, peach and banana flavor says his interaction with local farmers who supply him with milk for production has taught him that elevating small scale farmers can increase his demand and supply pattern on the market.
“This yoghurt from Mzuzu Dairy is now in every district in the Northern region except for Likoma. We have already started supplying to big supermarkets in the Northern districts. Our goal is to go country wide and here is where, as a production, we will use the networks and knowledge acquired in the project to expand,” said Chitowe.
Mphande speaks to the graduates
Godfrey Mphande, World University Services of Canada Malawi Country Director who was Guest of Honor at the Bizcubation graduation ceremony reminded the graduating students that Malawi is not a poor country and that business can thrive in an environment where entrepreneurs combine business with passion and vision.
Mphande emphasized the importance of access to information in every business and challenged them to use places like Mzuzu Entrepreneur Hub where information is accessible and take advantage of the already established networks that the Hub has with other organizations and entrepreneurs.
“Do not limit yourselves. You are capable of many things. Read whatever is relevant to your business. We are the ones responsible for growing the economy. Let us nurture our business ideas so that they graduate into businesses. I would be glad to see all our businesses creating employment opportunities for others,” said Mphande.
Kumwenda: Think big and collaborate with other entrepreneurs
Vincent Kumwenda, Chief Executive Officer for mHub echoed Mphande’s sentiments by telling the graduates not to limit their thinking capacity and always collaborate with those that are already thriving in their communities.
“Use the networks you have developed through this program. Mzuzu E-Hub and mHub have many programs that we collaborate and take advantage of these opportunities. Explore and do not limit your ideas and activities to Mzuzu only. There is potential for growth outside the city. You carry a vision that is bigger than any region,” he advised.
Chinyama (L) receives an award certificate from Mphande (C) while Kumwenda (R) looks on
Three award certificates were also presented to Most Collaborating Entrepreneur which was banked Vanessa Chinyama, Rising Star was scooped by Sir Hackson Processors and Social Impact award went to Mzuzu Dairy.
Some of the graduates pose with their certificates
Bizcubation this year has graduated 14 businesses namely Mzuzu Dairy, Sir Hackson Processors, Garbman, Maliana Agness Designs, Gifted hands, Unlimited Youth Organisation, Keen Food Consulting and Catering Services, Mlambe Arts Theatre, KCHKNA Inc, Compunerd IT Services, Steel Wood and Building Limited, Plus-Size Clothing, Chris Enterprise and Reign Designs and Build.
The next Bizcubation program runs from Feb 2021 and Mzuzu E Hub offers this program on a free basis for all entrepreneurs to learn basic business skills, mentorship, trainings and networking.