THE government has availed $670,000 to finance business projects for university and college graduates under the Graduate Entrepreneurship and Employment Promotion Programme (GEEPP). Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri announced the funding yesterday while addressing a Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (Zicosu) southern region meeting at the Bulawayo Polytechnic.
The minister said students’ participation in the national economy was critical hence the setting up of the fund to enhance their contribution to the implementation of the economic blue-print, Zim-Asset.
“You need to take up a more active role through entrepreneurship development to address Zim-Asset. I’m pleased to announce that through Zimdef, my ministry has provided seed capital for GEEPP’s revolving fund to the tune of $670,000,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
She said the funding scheme was meant for the empowerment of graduates only as a way of reducing unsustainable levels of unemployment.
The minister stressed the need to equip students with the appropriate entrepreneurial aptitudes and competencies to become job creators.
“Come up with innovation which we can sponsor through GEEPP to help you develop and for you to produce for your country,” she challenged the students.
GEEPP recognises the need to reach out to as many unemployed graduates as possible, the minister added, hence the programme would be spread from provinces to districts.
Muchinguri-Kashiri pledged to mobilise additional funding for the facility, identify and create linkages with external partners on a win-win basis by exploiting bi-lateral and multilateral agreements already in place.
The minister said through Zim-Asset, the government provides students with the opportunity to explore economic sectors that are relevant to their area of study and create ideas on how they can tap into those sectors.
Zim-Asset is a five-year socio-economic development blue-print crafted by the Zanu-PF government in 2013 after winning the July 31 harmonised elections.
The programme has four areas of focus, which are; food security and nutrition cluster, social services and poverty eradication cluster, infrastructure and utilities cluster and value addition and beneficiation cluster.