At least 100 informal traders from Bulawayo have been trained on business management and financial literacy by the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) as part of efforts to assist them to identify new opportunities, grow their businesses and establish business linkages.
The traders were trained on budgeting, savings, record keeping, investing and processes of acquiring a vending license.
Speaking to CITE, BVTA director Michael Ndiweni said the training was made possible through a grant from the Zimbabwe Resilient Building Fund (ZRBF) to implement a five month project termed Market aggregation Covid-19 Vendors Response and Market Access Project (VCR- MAP) .
He said the training seeks to equip vendors with skills to expand their business at the same time responding to Covid-19 pandemic.
“This market aggregation project is part of Sizimele, a consortium made up of a number of partners including BVTA, Tsambe, ORAP. It seeks to bring together people from the informal sector to create an opportunity for them to trade amongst each other, equip them with skills to expand their businesses at the same time responding to the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed millions of lives all over the world, the informal sector being the hardest hit due to the nature of how the sector is organised,” said Ndiweni
“The project is also trying to go to market places, raise awareness and monitor adherence to Covid-19 protocols and the project is doing that through deploying what we call market agents so they go around checking if people are wearing masks, people are observing social distancing, if people are keeping their market places clean, if they are washing their hands among other protocols.”
Ndiweni added that some of the traders had abandoned their businesses after they were forced to divert their funds to take care of their families due to effects of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, a cross border vendor, Pretty Mpofu said the training was beneficial to them.
“We learnt a lot and as a cross border trader I used to tell myself that I am a jack of all trades and could hoard anything that I lay my hands on, that made it hard for me to keep track on how my business is going.
“I was not even aware of the importance of record keeping in the informal sector and I could use all profits that I would have made,” she said.