5 May 2017

Mozambique: Maputo Hub Ignites Entrepreneurial Spirit Among Youth

Maputo — LAUNCHED in 2011 by Klaus Schwab, the veteran Germany engineer and economist who is also the founder of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is enabling young Mozambicans to contribute to the development of the Southern African country. The Global Shapers Community is a network of hubs bringing together youth that have a common, voluntary goal, to take the lead in the economic and social evolution of their respective countries.

Six years after its launch, more than 100 countries are benefitting from the work of these youths aged between 20 and 30. The Maputo Hub, as the Mozambique unit is known, has 20 members. Among these are analysts, auditors, chief executive officers, customs officers, consultants, social entrepreneurs, students, human resources staff, managers and technicians. They are giving shape to a new generation of young people who decided to follow entrepreneurship as career. Daudo Vali, one of representatives of the community of the global shapers, categorises Mozambican youth into three groupings. "There are three types of young Mozambicans; those who get comfortable with their situations, those who are saddened by problems and those that are hopeful," said Vali. "I am among those that are hopeful. It is not an easy situation to follow but with hard work results always come," Vali said.

He explained, "We are all volunteers here. Every week, we come together in our office and try to find effective ways of making an impact in our communities, cities and eventually in the world." Priding themselves as "entrepreneurs by heart," the members of the Maputo Hub of the global shapers decided to share their experiences with those who are still greenhorns in the Mozambican business market. Among other ways the shapers are empowering their peers include workshops and training programmes held throughout the country's 11 provinces. The Maputo Hub aims to instill belief among young Mozambicans they can be successful entrepreneurs. The mission is bearing fruit. Some 11 young entrepreneurs have been recognised through a project known as "The Bridge", a collaboration of the global shapers community and the Mozambican-based DEV Mozambique.

The Building Bridges Foundation implemented the project through the Road to Nairobi Project, which identifies young talented entrepreneurs and exposes them to business opportunities. The Bridge has managed to bring together young Mozambicans from different and encourage them to present their projects to the public. Beneficiaries received entrepreneurship training and support for their startup businesses. They have participated in a Global Shapers Community mentoring programme and will have their companies published in a book the Building Bridges Foundation, will release after the exercise. The volume will be titled, "Young African Entrepreneurs." In addition the beneficiaries have participated in the high-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Cooperation and Development held in Nairobi, Kenya, with more than 250 United Nations executives and agencies. One of the Global Shapers, Rodolfo Dias, said through The Bridge, the shapers aimed to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to access funding and knowhow. "The greatest challenge of entrepreneurship in Mozambique is the lack of knowledge of how to translate a business idea into a product or service, as well as the lack of access to financial information. We are here to challenge and provide students with the know-how. We are contributing to develop the entrepreneurial spirit within the student community," said Dias. With 30 percent of Mozambique's youth living in unemployment, Vali said the global shapers were an advantaged group.

43 percent of Mozambique's official population of 25 million population are youth under 15. "We are privileged. Thankfully, we are young people who could pursue further education. We are also global shapers. That comes with responsibility," he pointed out. Besides The Bridge, the shapers also have also networked with experienced businessmen and those in the beginning of the entrepreneurship career. Among upcoming events is the Global Week of Entrepreneurship, which will be marked widely in Mozambique in November. "We aim to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, we have special emphasis on issues like female empowerment and climate change," said Luis Fernando, another Mozambican global shaper. One of the latest assignments of the team is to support the implementation of the "The Agro-Youth Programme" being developed in a number of regions in the country. Among these are Chókwè (south Mozambique), Báruè, Chimoio, Mocuba and Vanduzi (central) and Nampula (north). The small investment support office (GAPI Investments) is spearheading the programme and will fund the implementation of 12 projects led by young people countrywide. Coordinator of The Agro-Youth Program, Rui Amaral, pointed out including new partners brought more diversity and experience. "We intend to provide our beneficiaries with experiences that have been implemented in other countries," said Amaral. - CAJ News


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