Nearly 3 000 youths have so far undergone training under the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP), an initiative co-sponsored by CBZ Bank and designed to equip young people with skills to start business.
Speaking at the award giving ceremony held in Harare last week, CBZ chief executive Dr Blessing Mudavanhu said close to 3 000 youths have gone through the programe since it started three years ago.
"This is third year running and about 2 900 youths have gone through this programme. This initiative fits in the RBZ strategy of financial inclusion. We are providing a platform so that our brothers and sisters are involved in the financial system.
"CBZ has created a platform we hope our youth will ride on (the wave) and do something about it, this is also a platform that is created to create jobs not to hunt for jobs," said Dr Mudavanhu.
The programme's director Jonah Mungoshi, indicated that the focus of YEP was to influence the creation of growth focused businesses. YEP also develops them to start growth oriented businesses to promote economic and social development by increasing fiscal space for marginalised micro-small to medium scale enterprises in the formal banking system and has since attracted entrepreneurs from diverse industries that include agriculture, ICT, services and manufacturing.
"It is a long-term investment, a conservative investment that helps young people to start business from scratch and grow their business. We are not talking about quick win or overnight investments. We are targeting employment creation and we have young people ready for that," said Mr Mungoshi.
Sympathy Sibanda of Amandla brands who is into manufacturing of organic foods, walked away with $12 000 after exhibiting the best entrepreneurship skills in the startup category, while Pardon Matavanda scooped the first price ($10 000) in the established business category.
Marvellous Nyongoro and Farai Musendo who are into online real estate and biogas and waste management were the first and second runners up respectively.
Sibanda said; "I will invest the money into my business, I would want Amandla brands to grow into recognised brand like Unilever and Willards, the competition was extremely tough but it's a dream come true."
The programme has particular focus on essentials of business development, self-reliance and sustainability.
Now in the third year running YEP has gone a step further urging participants to follow formal procedures and register companies regardless of size.