The CBZ Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) has brought 292 young entrepreneurs drawn from across the country for a training programme aimed at developing innovative start-ups.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
This comes as the International Youth Foundation estimates 83% of youths between the ages of 15 and 35 years are unemployed.
CBZ Holdings group marketing and corporate affairs executive, Laura Gwatiringa told NewsDay on Monday at the start of the YEP workshop that there were limited employment opportunities, hence, the need to train youth on entrepreneurship.
“We need to empower young people to open their minds so that they can create their own businesses. I think the beginning is to empower them, giving them the basic necessary training that then ignites the entrepreneur in them,” she said.
“You cannot just give them money. What you need to do is nurture them in such a way that you develop the entrepreneurial skills in them, so that they can start something on their own. We are not giving them business ideas, we are saying, bring your own ideas and let us work together.”
Gwatiringa said enterprising youths would have access to different branches of the group, where they would receive technical, logistical and financial support.
The two-day YEP programme attracted 179 young entrepreneurs for the public forum and 117 for the workshop.
The CBZ group also ran a competition alongside the workshop, with the most innovative ideas expected to receive start-up capital in the near future.
Gwatiringa said young entrepreneurs with credible start-ups were encouraged to visit their small-to-medium enterprises (SME) division to seek finance for their projects.
CBZ Bank is targeting supporting SMEs with $150 million by year end.
During the workshop, most of the young entrepreneurs cited lack of access to capital investment, as a reason for their challenges.
Jonah Mungoshi, a success coach specialising in assisting executive management of companies to build high performance teams, said the entrepreneurs were not presenting long-term growth-oriented businesses to the banks.
“I know the environment is hard and very difficult, but I also believe that it is out of that harshness solutions can come out. Banks, yes, are not lending money because of risky investments, but we are also in a position where banks have been suffering from non-performing loans. But, when you have a bankable project, banks will lend because that is how they will make money,” he said.
Mungoshi said when seeking investments, the key for youths to start small and gradually scale up.
On average, for entrepreneurs to be considered viable in the current economic environment, their businesses need to be making $5 000 yearly turn over.
This is based on results from in the Central Business Inquiry revised Report for 2015, where a majority of companies were making similar annual turnover.