The Business Year

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Given the resilient nature of Mozambican entrepreneurs, organizations that seek to support SMEs are becoming invaluable in the country.

Nuno Remane

Executive Director, Foundation for the Improvement of Business Environment (FAN)

FAN is a non-profit Mozambican institution receiving support from the Danish government. FAN started as a Danish-led project, but eventually evolved into a fully Mozambican foundation. FAN is now looking to establish new partnerships with potential donors, supported by the results that it has achieved so far. Its mandate is to develop a sustainable, inclusive, and transparent business environment in Mozambique, working with associations from the private sector and all other institutions involved in the environment. The four pillars of our mandate are to improve the internal capacity of associations, advocate for better services for its members, establish an effective public-private dialogue, and encourage international partnerships between national and international entities. We develop our mandate implementation strategy while keeping an eye on the importance of the decentralization of business opportunities in all provinces, so that people are not forced anymore to relocate to Maputo for jobs. As the global economy is gradually shifting to decentralization, we intend to encourage the same in Mozambique. For this reason, we benefit from partnership with 14 key offices throughout the country, ensuring a footprint in all provinces.

Claire Mateus Zimba

General Director, Institute for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (IPEME)

IPEME has just come out of its five-year cycle, from 2014 to 2019. In this period, we have supported around 20,260 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), our biggest focus being youth entrepreneurship. We facilitated access to credit for about 3,189 SMEs and access to capital markets for 520 SMEs. We helped close new businesses for 1,070 enterprises and helped 185 SMEs to export. We initiated the first quality certification program for SMEs in the gas sector, reaching about 40 SMEs from Cabo Delgado and the southern region. We have also organized events with LNG megaprojects to involve SMEs in the value chain. In 2019, IPEME revised its operational model, whereby we elected four main areas of intervention, including promoting the professionalization and modernization of entrepreneurs in MSMEs; supporting the creation of new businesses; enabling access to information and new technologies; and implement private-sector mechanisms to facilitate SME creation and sustainability. An ever-present challenge for companies here is the limits in capacity and internal structure, which can be improved only through the formation of human capital and the development of partnerships.

Luí­s Magaço Junior

Managing Director, Luí­s Magaço Junior

COWI was established in Denmark 90 years ago as an engineering consulting company. Over the years, it has expanded to cover over 40 countries and employ around 8,000 people. COWI entered the Mozambican market in 2003 and in 2007 it bought the local socioeconomic management consulting company Austral. Following the acquisition, COWI decided to not alter the core business of Austral, but rather to gradually integrate its own line of businesses into Austral’s already established set of services. For this reason, COWI’s predominant focus in Mozambique has been socioeconomic consulting. We have a strong team of anthropologists, social scientists, and economists who perform studies and undertake action plans and impact assessments. Other branches include the environmental services, dedicated to environmental auditing and environmental impact assessments; an event planning team, undertaking studies in the water sector; and a program management team, which manages funds and implements programs for other institutions. One of the main factors of our success is the possibility of leveraging on the company’s well-established network and set of resources to provide top-quality services and tools.

José Ribeiro Rodrigues

General Manager, SDO Mozambique

SDO Mozambique started out as a branch of SDO Portugal, but in 2015 it became an independent entity, joining forces with two local partners. Human capital is our leading area, where we design, develop, and manage integrated systems in all HR components. In 2019, on our 10th anniversary we won the award for the Best Human Capital Organization in Mozambique. In the last few years, we have also branched out in other directions: strategic management, business models design, training and development, and recruitment and selection, which is now the second-largest area. We organize intra-trainings sections designed exclusively for each our client-organization. Most of our recruitment processes are for medium and high-level positions, and we have created a reputation for ourselves in this segment. Quality is our biggest trademark and distinguishes us from our competitors. Future prospects for growth and foreign investment in Mozambique are positive, so we are placing ourselves to grasp these opportunities. We are already working with two or three of the biggest companies in the country, so the prospects of work are developing as they hire and transform.

Sara Fakir

Co-Founder & Executive Catalyst, ideiaLab

ideiaLab was established in 2010, when entrepreneurship was not a common word among Mozambicans. I had the opportunity to study abroad and develop as an entrepreneur and decided to return to Mozambique and see the opportunities on offer. I came to understand that there are opportunities, but people do not see them due to a lack of knowledge and experience. This was the inception of the idea behind ideiaLab. I united my background in economy and business with my business partner’s background in human resources to give birth to this project. It took us some time to find a business model to make the business sustainable. At present, we support the whole entrepreneurial journey, starting from stimulating and inspiring young people and then supporting them in activating their ideas and scaling up from micro-level to SME. 70% of our beneficiaries are under 35; our target is not the bottom of the pyramid—a space that NGOs and international organizations cover extensively—but rather educated young people with a vision. This is, I believe, the point to kickstart development for our country.



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