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Young entrepreneurs struggle due to lack of funds

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THE International Youth Foundation (IYF) says that most young entrepreneurs in the country were struggling, due to a lack of knowledge and has helped facilitate 5 000 loans in the past 18 months.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Amid rising unemployment, young people continued to do miniscule work to get by with estimates for unemployment being as high as 90%.

IFY country director, Pamela Chiromo told NewsDay recently her organisation has been working with microfinance institutions to help young entrepreneurs with viable business projects to get funding.

“They have to demonstrate that there businesses are viable to the microfinance financial institutions because they are giving out the funding almost on a commercial basis but they are actually given the opportunity to get the funding. To date we have disbursed close to 5 000 loans to these young people, in the last 18 months or say to date,” she said.

“For a lot of them, the money has gone into their stocks, working capital, and infrastructure, which have really been instrumental in opening those doors for them. Altogether, I would say our revolving fund is just over $750 000.”

She said IFY has finished a survey to ascertain the true nature of the employment status among the youth in the country among the ages of 18 to 35 years.

Currently, IYF has found that about 83% of the country’s youths between the ages of 15 and 35 were unemployed as the economy continues to shrink.

The average size of loans ranged from at least $400 to $35 000 during that period.

Chiromo said part of the problem was a lack of knowledge for the business project chosen by young entrepreneurs.

“They might not have the right business management skills as opposed to entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurial skills are a talent that everyone might not have, but it might be enhanced through training. Also, they might not have the right opportunities to access finance,” she said.

Chiromo said that an entrepreneur needed to be earning between $500 and $1 000 at least for one year for their business to be viable.

On average, most of the informal sector players where most of the youths have turned are earning between $300 and $600 a month.

Chiromo said once the survey results were out in the coming weeks they would be in a better position to help the youths.

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