THE 2018 Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP), a programme by CBZ Holdings in partnership with Empowered Life Trust which seeks to produce profitable businesses run professionally by youths, will roar into life this week.

YEP is a practical and results-based initiative involving youths from all the 10 provinces which is nurturing a new generation of growth oriented business persons. The programme seeks to improve Zimbabwe youths including those who are in the rural areas through offering business opportunities which will in turn create employment opportunities. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s 2016-2020 National Financial Inclusion Strategy which seeks to foster economic and social development by increasing fiscal space for previously marginalised key players such as smallholder farmers, women, youth, micro-small to medium scale enterprises in the formal banking system.

Through the YEP programme 1 875 young people have been trained since 2016 and 52% of the trained are women. In addition 414 businesses have been successfully registered and are fully functional. The 2017 edition saw over 1 000 young people from the country’s 10 provinces receiving extensive training, 20 received seed money to inject into their businesses, 10 finalists were awarded with prize money to be used in their businesses, while the programme was also rolled out in 2 rural centres, Gutu (Masvingo Province) and Umzingwane (Matebeleland South province).

The young entrepreneurs who walked away with prizes include Ropafadzo Zimunya from Manicaland who is manufacturing banana flour. At only 20 years of age, Ropafadzo walked away with the top prize of US$10 000.00 while first runner up Clive Nyapokoto (Mashonaland East)) who is doing shift organic farming took home US$7 000.The third prize worth US$5000 went to Junior Bakasa who is manufacturing domestic detergents.

Participants from the 2 rural centres successful mobilised themselves into fully registered cooperatives resulting in 2 cooperatives from Umzingwane coming out tops and being awarded prize money amounting to US$3,000 and US$2,000 respectively The 2018 edition has been divided into two parts – Start-ups category (businesses which are still at idea stage up to one year of operation) and the established businesses (maximum of three years in operation). The first category will have a top prize of US$7000 while the winner of the later will go home US$5 000 richer.

At least 100 participants, aged between 18 to 35 years, will be selected to attend a one-an- half-day outreach training in each of the 10 provinces. Applications can be done through our extensive branch network as well as an online portal ( ) Applications are open from the 7th of August 2018 up to the 31st of August 2018. A YEP Call Centre has been established to assist participants and handle queries regarding the YEP program and other entrepreneurship related queries via YEP Call Centre numbers are 0782 489 653.

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