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Zantchito – Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance Engages Incubators to Understand their Incubation Service Provision

Zantchito – Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance (‘Zantchito’) recently engaged senior representatives from six Malawian business incubators to better understand their service offerings and explore opportunities to strengthen support to idea-stage entrepreneurs.
Zantchito Meets Incubators

Zantchito – Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance (‘Zantchito’) recently engaged senior representatives from six Malawian business incubators to better understand their service offerings and explore opportunities to strengthen support to idea-stage entrepreneurs.
The meeting, held in Lilongwe, convened participants from university incubation hubs, social organisations, and private companies. Participating incubators included Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) Business Incubation Centre, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) AgriBiz Hub, Mzuzu E-Hub, NxtGen Labs, Dzuka Africa, and mHub.


The meeting underscored the variety of services provided by incubators, which have diverse business models, methods for targeting specific clientele, and capacity to train and support entrepreneurs across the stages of incubation (i.e. pre-incubation, incubation, and post-incubation).
Discussions uncovered that most incubators in Malawi provide services in both urban and rural areas through satellite operations. This pre-existing network of service provision outlets is promising given Zantchito’s aim to reach idea-stage entrepreneurs equitably regardless of geographical location.
Industry-wide challenges to service provision were discussed. Inadequate infrastructure, inability to provide sufficient post-incubation support, inability to provide start-up capital and equipment, and lack of resources to consistently recruit incubatees emerged as key barriers to increasing idea-stage entrepreneurs’ rates of service utilisation. For TEVET and university graduates specifically, incubators expressed challenges to providing effective support due to both incubators’ limited capacities, and idea-stage entrepreneurs’ inability to afford the services.
Zantchito has responded to these shared barriers with a model for financial support to both incubators and incubatees. Zantchito activities will facilitate improved delivery and accessibility of incubation services by targeting both service providers and users.
Zantchito has allocated financial resources for selected incubators to build their capacities, especially the ability to identify idea-stage entrepreneurs which would benefit from capital investment.


Meanwhile, to support incubatees in positioning themselves to receive and leverage investment, Zantchito is also providing up to USD 12,500 to each incubate to use towards production costs such as accessing business development services (i.e. developing sound business plans, product research and development, etc.) and purchasing equipment across incubation stages.
Zantchito also aims to establish an active incubator network platform to promote linkages amongst incubators, which will ultimately strengthen the overall ecosystem for service provision.
The session in Lilongwe served as an initial interface between Zantchito and the incubators. Next, Zantchito is set to partner with six selected incubators across Malawi to deliver targeted high-quality incubation support to TEVET graduates, university graduates, and idea-stage entrepreneurs in the inception year. The learnings from this session will be utilised across the project duration, allowing Zantchito to tailor and adapt its activities to best fit the incubation landscape’s needs.

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