The Empowerment Bank has promised to extend loan facilities to jobless youths in Gweru to enable them start small businesses.
Bank officials were last week in the city at the invitation of Gweru Urban MP, Brian Dube, who realised that there was a huge interest for easily accessible loans by enterprising youths in informal employment.
Addressing scores of residents in the city the banks customer care official, Nontokozo Ndebele, said the institution was obliged to fund business projects for the youths in order to empower them.
She insisted that the bank was different from other financial institutions as it has relaxed requirements for loans.
“As the name suggests, our mandate is to make sure that we empower the young people, especially those that are not in formal employment, but have sharp business insights. Our requirements, even on opening bank accounts, are very relaxed. We are, therefore, inviting all who have business ideas in mind, but do not have the money to kick-start them to engage the bank,” Ndebele said.
She said the bank had devised ways to relax collateral requirements that impeded on people seeking business loans.
“If people can get into groups and propose to the bank sound business proposals, we have measures that we put in place to ensure collateral requirements do not stand on the way. Our goal is to empower the youths and we are aware most of them do not have properties like houses and cars, but can make it when funded to start businesses. These are the people we are looking for and for Gweru, we hope to start working with a lot of those,” Ndebele said.
Dube urged the youths to take up the loans and beat the biting economic crisis.
“I was motivated to invite the bank because it is only located in Harare and Bulawayo, yet here in Gweru we have a lot of people who are facing financial challenges to start up businesses,” he said.
“The bank is wholly owned by government so the people of Gweru must benefit. In these hard times, formal employment is now a nightmare and most people, especially youths, are jobless. It is, therefore, plausible for them to get loans so that they eke out a living and match the harsh economic environment.”