FQM boost Solwezi cooperatives with K2.6M

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has doubled the number of small business cooperatives it supports under its Tujipamo Community Project to empower entrepreneurs in the areas around its Kansanshi mine in Solwezi. 


Some K2.6 million has been disbursed to 12 cooperatives this year, building on the support for six cooperatives last year by the company’s Kansanshi Mining operation.


The Tujipamo Community Project builds upon the success of last year’s pilot project, under which Kansanshi Mining supported six cooperatives with more than K5 million. The positive impact of this initial endeavour encouraged the expansion of the project to reach more local cooperatives this year. 


The 12 cooperatives have received grant funding of K220,000 each to engage in business activities and promote sustainable economic growth within their communities.  


Speaking during the handover of cheques, Kansanshi Mining Contracts Manager Pamela Chola said with other corporate social investment in the communities, FQM wants to continue working closely with business-minded people with potential to impact communities. 


This initiative is a testament to FQM’s dedication to fostering entrepreneurship and enhancing the livelihoods of the communities surrounding its mining operations, she said. 


To ensure success of the initiative, FQM has employed a dedicated business consultant who will work closely with the cooperatives for the year and advise on how they can grow into successful business people. 


The business consultant will provide hands-on support with the aim to provide guidance, mentorship, and expertise to ensure the success and sustainability of the funded initiatives. 

“Last year, we took a comprehensive look at how we could further contribute to the sustainability and growth of our community. The Tujipamo Community Project emerged from this evaluation, representing our dedication to supporting our community in a meaningful and lasting way. We are not just a mining company; we are an integral part of this community,” said Chola. 


She told cooperative members: “We acknowledge the existing efforts of our community members, many of whom are engaged in farming. However, we want to empower you to grow beyond your current capacities and actualise your dreams. This project is a reflection of our belief in the potential of our community members to create sustainable businesses.” 


Chola reminded the cooperatives that the funding will only be provided for a year on a quarterly basis and everyone was expected to grow and stand on their own after a year of being supported with the grant.
She said FQM was aware that access to finance remains a significant impediment to Small Medium Enterprise (SME’s) growth and financial constraints were consistently cited as one of the primary obstacles hindering the expansion of SMEs hence the support to facilitate access to finance for SMEs. 


Chola added that the mine believed that by supporting SMEs and promoting their growth, they would contribute significantly to the creation of employment opportunities within the communities in which they operate. 


And speaking on behalf of Amen Sisters Cooperative, Marvis Ikowa commended the company for its support, indicating that funds provided would go a long way to support their growth. 


“We are not going to be the same; this support will change our lives. We pledge to invest the money wisely and ensure communities also benefit,” she said. 

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