Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
ORGANISERS of the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) have said the initiative has capacity to produce business-minded youths who can help drive the economy.
YEP is a practical and results-based initiative to produce growth-oriented profitable businesses professionally run by youths aged between 18 and 35 from all the country’s 10 provinces.
It is a partnership between CBZ Bank and Empowered Life Trust and was established in 2016.
YEP participants are required to professionally run profitable businesses within a given period of time and two per province are selected.
In an interview yesterday, Empowerment Life Trust co-founder and programme leader Mr Shingirai Chitsike said the 20 participants that have been identified will battle it out for $10 000 first prize on March 8.
“We have shortlisted two participants per province and given them seed capital of $200 each which they should make use of within 30 days. The programme has been received quite well to the extent that banks have shown interest to increase financing and we are excited with the way youths have been showing interest which means we are producing drivers of the economy,” he said.
He said the winner will get $10 000 while 1st and 2nd runners up will get $7 000 and $5 000 respectively.
Those who will also make it to the top 10 will each receive $1 000 consolation prizes.
The programme targets youths who show creativity and potential regardless of whether the business is a start-up or not.
Mr Chitiske said they assess record keeping, general usage of money, business improvement and how the business solves challenges.
“We look at capacity of business and bankability and then will rank them. We gave them a business reporting template which they will complete and attach receipts and CBZ will assist in assessing,” he said.
From the southern region which covers Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Midlands and Masvingo provinces, the 10 participants are-from Bulawayo, Velile Dube (fashion designer), Tenny Moyo (fittings and cabinets) , Matabeleland North-Given Moyo and Farai Chakawa who are into eco-tourism and events management respectively, Oscar Singo and Grace Chikowore who do scrap metal melting and juice manufacturing in Matabeleland South respectively, Midlands’ Siphiwe Mandina and Henry Gurajena (cereal manufacturing and construction and renovation respectively) and from Masvingo Artwell Murambatsvina (mining operations) and Simbiso Chimenya (wholesale behavioural management).
There are 10 others from the northern provinces whose businesses range from detergents manufacturing to mushroom production, organic farming, ice cream making and others. Both the Matabeleland North representatives are from Victoria Falls.
Mr Chakawa, a co-founder of Victoria Falls Total Events (VFTE) which was formed last year in April and is competing with well established service providers in the tourism industry,
“We have employed one permanent worker and we take casuals when we have functions.
“We do events management from planning concept to completion and also provide mobile toilets, tents and do décor,” he said.
“There is competition as hotels do their own décor but in business competition is healthy hence we work hard and am glad to say such opportunities provided by YEP are giving us a breakthrough.”
VFTE has provided service to a number of events organized by FBC Bank, YEP, World Health Organisation conference held in Victoria Falls last year as well as the Victoria Falls Agricultural Show where they have provided mobile toilets, tents and other services.