Amidst fear and uncertainty of the year 2020 there was some highs we can celebrate. Below are some overall highlights of 2020 – what can we be grateful for:

Growth Accelerator supported an additional 25+ businesses:  In 2020, Growth Accelerator increased the financing bracket by introducing two programmes that served over 25 businesses in various sectors. The programme launched the COVID19 Special window in April 2020 and the COVID19 Tourism Entrepreneurship Challenge in the second half of the year. Both programmes offered up to USD40,000 in financing for each contracted business. The programmes aimed to manage the adverse effects of COVID19 in Malawi by supporting private sector activity. A highlight from the programme is that it has doubled the number of supported ventures in its second year as compared to the initial plans.

The programme implemented a strategic COVID19 response: The programmes launched in response to COVID19 promoted already existing products and services that assisted in the management and prevention of COVID19 spread in Malawi. These included products such as: hand sanitizers, masks production, hand wash and other PPE Materials. This was particularly important as importation of these key prevention items was restricted due to closing of boarders to curb the spread of the virus. The programme also supported services such as: delivery services, media production and counselling and/or therapy. The programme promoted the local industry whilst actively creating long-lasting solutions that would mitigate the impact of COVID19 in Malawi.

All ventures are operational: It is no easy task to run a business during the COVID19 pandemic. With millions of small businesses that have been closed around the globe the emotions for entrepreneurs where running high. We celebrate that all the Growth Accelerator ventures are operational and some recording growth due to innovative pivot strategies that sustained revenues during this challenging time. Some such ventures are: Mothers Choice, JAT Investments and Adah Seasonal Farms – all food providers that intensified door-to-door delivery services providing customers with their products even through the pandemic. Some ventures leveraged on their staff knowledge to create additional products and/services to serve the new needs that arose; for example – Warm Heart Children’s Therapy and Wellness started providing therapy sessions for victims, survivors and families of individuals affected by COVID19; similarly, Apex Medical Laboratories started offering private COVID19 testing to the general public; and Zomba Private Ambulances upgraded their services to accommodate COVID19 related emergencies.

Growth Accelerator cohorts are composed of ventures from different sectors such as: health, construction, waste management, manufacturing, agriculture and etc. These ventures have cumulatively employed over 200+ individuals since joining the programme and support value chains of over 6,000 people – most of which are low-income individuals in rural areas.