A Zambian national, Ms. Gwen Machiya 31, has been named as the 2017 Woman Entrepreneur of the year by the Zambia Federation Association of Women in Business (ZFAWIB). The ZFAWIB is an affiliate of the COMESA Federation of National Associations of Women in Business (FEMCOM).

Ms Machiya has been working in the textile sector for many years using fabric sourced from the international market to create quality designs which have steadily grown her clientele thus expanding her business.

At the awards ceremony in Lusaka last week, Zambia’s Vice President Mrs Inonge Wina described Ms. Machiya as ‘a young woman who can inspire other young people and women in particular to create employment for themselves’.

“It is notable that her business will promote growth of an entire chain in an area that is of particular interest to my government, that is the cotton and textile industry,” Mrs Wina said in a statement presented by the Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Mrs. Margaret Mwanakatwe.

The theme for this year’s women entrepreneur of the year award was ‘Grow Zambia – Buy Local’ in line with the Zambian government’s policy on industrialization which priorities the promotion of value addition and locally produced goods.

The Vice President commended FEMCOM for their role of championing the creation of wealth by women entrepreneurs in Zambia and the COMESA region.

In her statement, FEMCOM Director Mrs Katherine Ichoya encouraged women to change their mindset and aim high to play a much bigger role in the regional and national economic development.

“As women, I feel we are thinking small. Our governments cannot move very far without women. Let us change our mindset. Women are good at multitasking so we can manage homes as well as businesses and careers,” Mrs. Ichoya pointed out.

ZFAWIB Chairperson Mrs. Nancy Kawandami revealed that her association will start compiling sector specific data bases which will capture all women entrepreneurs across the country.