Covid-19 has disrupted lives and limited access to essential services worldwide. Everyday activities that require the exchange of money or person to person interaction have been severely compromised and Malawi has not been spared.

This is why UNDP Malawi is working to urgently  respond to COVID-19, as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crisis and shocks. Through its Private Sector work, UNDP is committed to providing support in a multisectoral whole-of-society approach to face this unprecedented challenge.

One of the ways UNDP is doing this is by identifying and providing support to several local entrepreneurial initiatives that are working innovatively to respond the pandemic.

A Growth Accelerator market teaser was advertised to gauge interest from young entrepreneurs in deploying a response to the COVID-19 pandemic by scaling existing core products and services or introducing new products and services or technology solutions for prevention and response as part of Malawi’s National COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan.

With applications currently being vetted, there are still other Growth Accelerator supported companies that are already adapting to respond to COVID-19, with UNDP’s support

For example, to respond to the increasing demand for hygiene products, Wijays Enterprise, a local youth led initiative, has cquired an automated liquid soap production unit that will allow them to produce 2,000 litres of liquid soap in record time.

Mothers Choice a local supermarket chain has also scaled up their delivery services and cater to home deliveries (and thus reduce person to person contact) and have developed a platform that will allow them to leverage on technology to use E-payments rather than cash.

To emphasize the importance of  psychosocial therapy especially in these stressful times, the Warm Heart Children's Therapy and Wellness Centre, a paediatric medical rehabilitation institution is now providing different therapy sessions online and servicing those parents and children willing to continue with their treatments in the comfort of their homes.

Speaking on this, UNDP’s Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara said:Our commitment to serve Malawians especially in the wake of COVID-19 remains resolute and we will keep looking for innovative solutions that both empower and provide the essential relief to all Malawians.”

The Growth Accelerator was launched in 2018 as a market test, and  has proven to be an on-demand market instrument for stimulating the private sector towardsinnovative and inclusive business growth. It provides technical assistance and seed capital (matching-grant of up to $40,000) to young and ambitious start-up companies that intend to provide sustainable business solutions to development challenges that align economic growth with sustainable development goals and the 2023 African Union Commission’s agenda. It sets out to identify innovative early-stage entrepreneurs that are seeking hands-on technical skills, mentorship and risk capital to scale-up their ventures.

For more information, visit https://growmalawi.com

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