Small businesses praise Challenges Zambia after training in financial management and leadership
Challenges Zambia has been working with the Zambian non-profit company, Musika, as part of our goal to achieve poverty reduction by ensuring agricultural markets work for all stakeholders, in particular Zambia’s rural poor. Musika is supported by the Swedish Embassy in Zambia, the Norwegian Government’s NORAD and IRISH AID, which seeks to stimulate private investment in the agricultural market and has a particular focus on the smallholder and emerging farmer sectors.
Musika’s approach to reducing poverty and creating wealth in rural Zambia involves stimulating the development of a supportive market environment that provides long-term and sustainable opportunities for farmers to invest in their own production and to use the markets to graduate out of poverty.
On the back of a survey of the sector, Musika identified gaps in financial management and leadership skills among small rural agribusinesses, aggregators and veterinary service providers, and decided upon a programme of training in financial management and leadership in order to build capacity within the sector.
Following a bidding process, Challenges was appointed to deliver a series of training sessions to small business holders in the Copperbelt and Central provinces of Zambia.
One of the key modules covered was “Meeting Stakeholder and Quality Needs”. As part of the training Challenges consultants took the participants through a series of strategic business activities and strategic assessments. These included: Understanding your Stakeholders’ Needs; Stakeholder Analysis; SMART Objectives; SWOT/PEST analysis; and Porter’s Five Forces.
- SMART is a mnemonic used to describe the criteria for the setting of objectives. It stands for: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-bound.
- SWOT analysis is a strategic tool for an individual or organisation to measure its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
- PEST analysis is a framework of macro-environmental factors (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural and Technological) to be considered while undertaking a larger strategic analysis of a business or market research.
- Porter’s Five Forces is a tool individuals and businesses can use to assess competition. They are: Threat of new entrants; Threat of substitutes; Bargaining power of customers; Bargaining power of suppliers; and Competitive rivalry.
Results of Challenges Zambia training
The training comprised of group activities that encouraged discussions and debates from all learners, each of whom was encouraged to use their own business experience as case studies. This was crucial as participants were able to reflect on past experiences (both successes and failures!), and consider how circumstances might be different should they experience the same in the future.
A total of 64 participants across three towns in Zambia – Kapiri Mponshi and Kabwe in Central Province and Kitwe in Copperbelt Province – took part in the training. The majority of participants did not know each other, and the interactive training created a lively environment that enabled participants to feel comfortable and to interact with both the trainers and participants.
All participants at each of the three sites received a days’ training in the following topics: SWOT analysis; PESTEL analysis; Stakeholder analysis; Stakeholder interest matrix; Empathy map; and setting SMART objectives.
Participants were excited to learn how to apply the above tools in their everyday business decisions. Examples used during the training helped them realise how their businesses would benefit from this newly acquired knowledge.
As the graphs and feedback results below show, this was a training session that was warmly received by its participants. We will in due course report
on the long-term impact on the businesses and the people who undertook the training.
Musika trainees’ comments on the Challenges Zambia Business Development training
Our key takeaway from this event:
“I have learnt the importance of management of clients, good relationship with stakeholders and customers, SWOT & PESTEL analysis for my business”
“Before the training, I did not have knowledge on how to plan in business for it to be managed well. I can now confidently plan for my business to avoid losses.”
Kapiri Mponshi Participant
Our views on the different aspects of the training:
“We all participated in the training, it kept us awake. Please continue with this type of training”
“The training was good and examples were clear and time manageable. The training should continue to teach business people”
Kapiri Mponshi Participant
Our thoughts regarding the sessions or overall agenda:
“I very much enjoyed the PESTLE and SWOT analysis sessions as we used personal business examples and experiences to learn.”
“Very interesting and easy to grasp, it was very educative we look forward to more trainings delivered in this manner.”
David Mweo Musonda
Our overall feedback for the event?
“The training was different from the usual trainings we attend where we just listen and not actively participate. It was great.”
Kapiri Mponshi Participant
“The trainers interacted well with us, it was a great training.”
Feedback from Challenges Zambia training