Youths that participated in the just concluded 2019 edition of the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) have been implored to implement their business ideas and grow them into Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to benefit the economy.
Nearly 4 000 youths have undergone training under the YEP, an initiative co-sponsored by CBZ Bank and designed to equip young people with skills to start business.
Now in its fourth year running, YEP participants have been encouraged to follow formal procedures and register companies regardless of the size.
The programme focuses on essential elements of business development, self-reliance and sustainability.
To date the programme has reached many outlying areas such as Lupane and Umzingwane rural districts, Binga and parts of Masvingo Province targeting mostly tertiary institutions such as Vocational Training Centres.
While addressing participants at the awards giving ceremony, senior managing director CBZ Life, Mr Norbert Mureriwa said: "I would like to see this year's winners moving to the SME level and mentoring other upcoming entrepreneurs through a robust network of entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and the world at large.
"Youth Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) is a practical and results-based initiative to produce growth-oriented and profitable businesses that are run professionally by youths from all 10 provinces in Zimbabwe."
The bank's initiative also forms part of the company's drive to enhance financial inclusion among youths and it is mandatory for participants to open bank accounts.
Representing Youth Sports, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister Tinoda Machakaire at the event, chief director responsible for arts, culture promotion and development in the ministry Dr Benson Dube said youths represent a vast and often untapped resource for immediate and long-term community development.
"Youth Entrepreneurs Programme came at a time when Zimbabwe is seized with the need to increase economic activity and is contributing towards achieving that very important task," he said.
Growth focused businesses
YEP intends to influence the creation of growth focused businesses amongst the economically active population in the country whom according to the Zimbabwe Population Census (2012) are over 60 percent of country's population whose majority are in need of employment.
This year's edition of YEP saw Lienne Shonhiwa of Manetain Organics, a hair care company, scooping the first price of $16 000 in the Established Business category.
Her company manufactures products using natural ingredients sourced locally and around Africa.
Ian Kazingizi of Agrimarine Solutions Aquaculture was the first runner-up in the category while Gamuchirai Chikungwa whose company specialises in hand-crafted leather goods including leather ladies purses, bags, men's wallets, shoes and belts finished as a second runner-up.
Tracy Vongai Mapfumo scooped $17 000 for the first prize in the Start-ups category. She runs Eny's Treats which provides gluten and nut free healthy snacks for corporate events.
Josphat Nyika founder of Zim Maggot Producers (Pvt) Ltd, which produces maggots, was the first runner while Vhusani Mtetwa who specialises in mechanical engineering was the second runner up in the start-up category.