The Constitution of Zimbabwe states that youth range from the age of 15 to 35. In Zimbabwe, youths make up a large percentage of the population.
They have the ability and power to cause social and economic changes.
Youth engagement is considered necessary for productive national policies and economic development.
Mobilising and empowering youths socially, economically, and politically can increase the GDP of the country because they are the majority workforce.
A few of the issues raised from youths’ workshops and meetings held around the country will be discussed in this article.
This article examines the various challenges faced by the youth entrepreneurs in the city of Masvingo and offers solutions for some of these problems.
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Accessing operating licence and registration
Due to the excessively high fees, young people are finding it difficult to register and obtain licences.
One youth said it took him approximately nine months to register his grocery business with the Zimbabwe Youth Council.
The registration process is lengthy and onerous.
As a result, this obstacle has impeded the youths’ ability to build and develop their businesses.
Some of the youths expressed concern that the registration process and papers required do not enable start-up businesses to extricate from the impoverished world such that economically incapacitated youths end up playing hide and seek with the law enforcers as they seek to eke out a living.
Lack of financial resources
Help Initiatives for People Organisation appreciates the efforts made by the government and other stakeholders to set up Empower Bank and other loan facilities so that youth can access funding for their businesses.
Finance, along with other resources like people and materials, is the foundation of any successful business, no matter how big or small.
One of the biggest barriers to young entrepreneurs is lack of finance. Another issue is corruption at the local governance stage.
Access to resources is impacted by this, particularly State-provided resources meant to encourage young entrepreneurs.
Even though there are banks in the area that offer loans, young people typically lack the necessary collateral to be eligible for a bank loan, making bank financing difficult for them to get.
Young people in Masvingo are unable to access financial resources due to a variety of factors, including a lack of contacts, general negative information that it is hard to access loans, a failure to make the required cash deposit, and ignorance about the available funding sources.
Another obstacle that deters young people in Masvingo from starting or expanding their enterprises is the unpredictability and instability of Zimbabwe’s political and economic landscape.
It is also claimed that inadequate and unstable government assistance prevents young people from starting businesses.
The government is not in favour of young people choosing careers in business and young people are less likely to participate in politics.
It is doubtful that youth-focused governmental initiatives will be created if young people are not engaged in political processes.
To accurately assess the state of development surrounding the nation’s cities, the government can conduct a needs study.
A thorough examination of young people’s circumstances should serve as the foundation for the creation of provincial youth policies that encourage youth participation in business.
Young people’s involvement can also be boosted by educating them and starting capacity-building initiatives.
By starting campaigns with contemporary tools like the internet, text messaging, and social media platforms, youth awareness may also be increased.
Zimbabwe’s economic situation can be improved by young people’s social participation in the business sector.
Young people who lack or have inadequate resources can receive assistance from business leaders.
Business leaders’ social involvement with young people may lead to social entrepreneurship, which boosts the nation’s social and economic capital and inspires young people to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours that ultimately improve society.
A major obstacle for young entrepreneurs is infrastructure, namely water, communication, energy, roads, sufficient power, water and sewer system.
One practical issue that hinders growth and sustainability is inadequate infrastructure.
Young company owners emphasised how important it is to avert power interruptions, as they have a detrimental effect on their operations.
The government and other stakeholders that promote youth entrepreneurship must incentivise youths who register their businesses with at least 30% non-returnable capital either in cash or resources.
Creating incentives for youth entrepreneurs increases youth entrepreneurship in Masvingo province and helps curb high unemployment rates as well as reduce the rate of drug and substance abuse.
We appreciate business exhibition shows which are being held in Masvingo province to promote youth entrepreneurship.
However, there is need for more capacity-building workshops for youth entrepreneurs so that they improve their business skills.
The government must provide youth entrepreneurship trainings and mentorship at least once every quarter to capacitate youth in businesses.
The government and relevant stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations must promote entrepreneurship awareness and a culture of registering businesses, accessing loans, marketing strategies, accessing tenders and more significantly information.
There is need to launch national entrepreneurship campaigns, promote public-private partnerships to organise youth provincial entrepreneurship awards and competitions.
There is also a need to integrate entrepreneurship modules at all levels, starting with the young ones to cultivate a professional business mindset.
There must be compulsory entrepreneurship modules at every institution that promote youth entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe.
The government must also support implementation of an entrepreneurship affirmative policy that addresses the gender gap in entrepreneurship.
Tech companies must provide mentorship, training and access to funding for tech-based startups.
It is important to adopt these solutions based on the context of youth entrepreneurship in Masvingo.
There is need for collaboration among various stakeholders including the government, civil society, private sector and educational bodies.
Monitoring and evaluation are essential to the growth of youth entrepreneurs.
Godfrey Chatsakama is the director for Help Initiatives for People Organisation. He writes here in his personal capacity.