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INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha yesterday challenged companies to redefine their business models and shun the “price wars” syndrome and adopt innovative strategies to sustain competition.

Addressing delegates to the Zimbabwe International Business Conference in Bulawayo, Minister Bimha said companies need to invest in relevant technologies to improve productivity and quality of goods and services taking aantage of export opportunities in the region and beyond.

“Industry needs to adopt and adapt to cutting-edge innovative solutions to meet the demands of the ever-changing consumer needs and wants. In this regard, I call upon you, the business sector, to redefine your business models and move away from the ‘price wars’ syndrome and adopt innovative strategies as a way to sustain competition,” he said.

The one-day business conference ran under the theme “The Role of Innovation in the Revival of the Country’s Industrial Base”.

He said the theme was relevant and dovetailed with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, which acknowledges the key role of technology and innovation in revival of the country’s industrial base.

He said innovation was not only about designing a new product.

“Focus can be on existing business processes and practices to improve efficiencies, finding new customers, re-evaluating business strategies, cutting down on waste whilst increasing profits.

“Revision of business models towards competitive production of higher quality value-added goods and services with an export orientation is therefore paramount to the sustainable economic growth and development of Zimbabwe ,” Minister Bimha said.

He added that it was encouraging to note that some of local industries had made their own efforts to upgrade technology by acquiring state-of-the-art plants and equipment.

The performance of such companies, Minister Bimha said, was testimony to the role that innovation played in the revival of industry.

“Industry should also engage research institutions which offer a fertile ground for seeding, nurturing and developing an innovative society. These institutions can also be turned into technological incubators and serve as hubs for developing, adapting and diffusing technology into industry,” he said.

Minister Bimha said key areas that needed special attention were promotion of innovative education systems among SMEs, innovative financing for experimental development, commercialisation of research output, and monitoring and tracking of scientific technological innovation locally and internationally.

“There is also a need to align our Intellectual Property Rights Policy to international best practices so as to safeguard our innovativeness and promote its commercial exploitation.

“Government will explore all options available to access affordable sources of funding to capacitate industry to retool and invest in new technology.

“The Government will also work to enhance trade facilitation in order to expedite trade flows by reducing and or eliminating barriers to trade,” he said.

Source : The Herald

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