Bank sets up $12,5m youth facility

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

THE Empowerbank has to date processed applications amounting to about ZWL$42 000 to young people in Bulawayo under its $50 000 non-collateral loan package, an official has said.

On March this year, during the official launch of its Bulawayo branch, the bank pledged a $50 000 non-collateral loan package to local entrepreneurs with viable project proposals on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“The official launch of the Bulawayo branch came with a welcome reprieve for young people, especially the disadvantaged, with a pledged special loan package for the youth in the region,” the bank’s spokesperson, Christina Muchekeza, told NewsDay.

“The branch experienced an exponential growth in enquiries on not only the pledged loan package, but also on all the bank’s loan products in general. To date, we have processed applications amounting to about RTGS $42 000 and the branch continues to receive these loan applications for consideration, which are limited to RTGS$2 000 per individual so that a wider target market can be assisted with this special package,” she said.

Muchekeza said the bank’s main purpose was to provide financial products and services to the financially excluded citizens of Zimbabwe, with a greater focus on the youth.

“The bank is actively participating in addressing the challenges related to financial inclusion in the country in order to bring the previously unbanked and unrecorded micro enterprises into the mainstream economy,” she said.

“The bank is, indeed, striving to capacitate and grow the businesses of young entrepreneurs for employment creation and economic growth. With our model, we are distinctively positioned to facilitate financial inclusion for the Zimbabwean youths by encompassing microfinance, financial advisory and support services in our products and services.”

Muchekeza said these support services included, but were not limited to mentoring programmes, financial education, entrepreneurial skills development, networking platforms and
business training initiatives.

“The support services will help demystify and change the negative perception on financial matters among the youths so that they can fully utilise our facilities and realise their entrepreneurial potential,” she said.

“Empowerbank is the bank for the youths and we encourage them to use it for their economic empowerment,” Muchekeza said.

The bank, which was launched by government last year to provide financial services to the youth, is capitalised to the tune of ZWL$12,5 million.

To date, the bank has disbursed over ZWL$2,7 million in loans to young entrepreneurs across the country, with another ZWL$5,4 million in applications still under consideration.

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