Zantchito trains first cohort of Business Development Service (BDS) Providers.

Recognising the key role that Business Development Service (BDS) providers play in helping entrepreneurs turn their innovations into sustainable businesses, Zantchito has commenced its collaboration with BDS providers in Malawi to build their capacities to effectively support idea-stage entrepreneurs.

The first targeted capacity building training was held in Lilongwe on 18th July 2023, with Zantchito inviting 23 members of staff from prominent BDS providers in Malawi to participate.

At the meeting, two key issues dominated the discussion; the need to improve the ability of BDS providers to deliver effective, commercially sustainable services to idea-stage entrepreneurs, and the need to deliver the services through a standardised framework.

Speaking after the day-long training, BDS providers expressed optimism that Zantchito will promote systemic changes in the ecosystem.

Tereza Chirambo, a BDS consultant at EQUIP Consulting Group said: “At the moment there is low demand for BDS, but the Zantchito programme activities will help to improve the demand among entrepreneurs. On the other hand, Zantchito will help to improve the capacities of the BDS providers to be delivering commercially sustainable services.” 

Amoni Kabuli, Lead Trainer at Kirk Agribusiness Centre hailed the design of the Zantchito programme, saying it will ultimately strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem:

The programme is providing technical assistance and access to finance to entrepreneurs, while also improving the capacities of both the business incubators and the BDS providers….

Involving the BDS providers is a right approach because they will have improved technical skills and capacities to deliver business-oriented training, coaching, and mentoring that the businesses can require,” said the delighted Kabuli.

Opening the day-long training, Cinzia Tecce, Programme Coordinator from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malawi country office, that is coordinating the Zantchito – Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance component, said Zantchito is an opportunity for the BDS providers to become commercially sustainable service providers, and invited all BDS providers in Malawi to utilise the programme activities for an improved ecosystem.

Zantchito seeks to build capacities of at least 169 BDS providers over its five-year implementation period. This initial training was facilitated by Adebayo Akindeinde, Navin Kumar, Buddhika Samarasinghe, and Bibek Shrestha, international experts in business incubation and business development services.


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