Zimtrade holds Eagle’s Nest Youth Incubation Programme Awards
Sikhulekelani Moyo [email protected]
NATIONAL trade development and promotion organization, ZimTrade, will on Friday hold awards and exhibitions for the third session Eagle’s Nest Youth Incubation programme in Harare.
ZimTrade has vowed to continue scaling up and strengthening its capacity development support to youth-led businesses across the country.
The third season of its Eagles’ Nest Youth Export Incubation Programme targeted to integrate young people into mainstream export business.
The incubation initiative, which won the World Trade Promotion Organisations (WTPO) Awards run by the International Trade Centre, for ‘Best Initiative for Inclusive and Sustainable Trade,’ aims to nurture wider youthful potential exporters through capacity development and export promotion.
The youth incubation programme also strives to ensure that young people are capacitated and able to create sustainable export enterprises that guarantee the future trade success for Zimbabwe.
The Eagles’ Nest programme was launched in 2020 to inculcate an export culture among youth enterprises in Zimbabwe.
The development of the programme was premised on the understanding that meaningful trade and economic development require specific approaches to include marginalised groups, particularly young people.
This initiative also anchors on the recognition by the National Youth Policy that the participation of young people in economic activities “provides sustenance and sustainable livelihood to the majority of them.” Eagle’s Nest programme, now in its third year, bridges the knowledge gap by bringing together different stakeholders to support and nurture youth businesses across Zimbabwe into viable export-ready companies.
The programme uses a pool of mentors, who are successful local business owners to provide practical solutions that will aid in navigating some of the difficult business terrains like the Netherlands-based PUM and SES of Germany, which are retired expert organizations, also offer support to selected organisations, by providing expert advice to businesses that will make youth-owned businesses competitive.
Such expert advice includes appropriate international certification, ways to improve the product from the design stage to the packaging stage, and on a needs basis, different upgraded machinery to ensure their product meets international standards.
A quick scan of youth-owned businesses reveals that some of them are not formally registered, regardless of the many years they have spent in operation.
Working with some key national institutions therefore eases the registration process and ensures that more youth-led businesses are formalised.
After formalising, youth-owned businesses are expected to have access to bigger markets and financing, which remains a major challenge for small businesses.
Other stakeholders who are part of the Eagle’s Nest Programme are local banks and financing institutions, which avail funding facilities tailored for youth-led SMEs.
The one critical component of the Eagle’s Nest Programme is support to youth-owned businesses to reach the export market, by promoting their products and services in foreign countries.