CBZ Holdings, in partnership with Empowered Life Trust (a non-profit making organization), has embarked on an ambitious $40,000 countrywide youth entrepreneurship empowerment programme. The Youth Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) has identified and is nurturing a new generation of growth-oriented entrepreneurs. Working with Star FM radio the programme has already benefitted 660 young people from all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe since its inception in October 2016. To address historical imbalances the programme is structured so that female participants make up at least 51% of all participants at every stage.
Many young Zimbabweans graduating from universities, colleges and high schools have no option but to become entrepreneurs due to lack of employment. Most of the businesses started by these young people are essentially survivalist self-employment initiatives with limited, if any, growth prospects. Such businesses do not create employment for others and have a low impact on the development of the country.
YEP seeks to address this need by inculcating a growth mind-set and ensuring the development of practices that foster business growth in young entrepreneurs through educational workshops and follow-up reinforcement activities.
The YEP programme is being rolled out in 3 phases.
The first phase involved facilitation of initial workshops for up to 150 participants per province leading to the selection of the top ten participants from each province.
During the second phase the selected 100 participants (10 per province) complete a number of individual and group assignments and also attend regional workshops culminating in their assessment as well as selection of the top 20 participants countrywide.
The third phase focuses on providing seed capital to the 20 remaining participants, assessing the performance of their businesses and selecting 10 winners who receive cash prizes ranging from $600 to $3,000 per person for investing in their businesses.
All participants in the programme at all levels receive on-going support via social media regardless of the level at which they exit the programme.
Participants benefit from the programme through the following:
- Knowledge – they acquire essential knowledge through the workshops they attend
- Skills – they develop skills for effective entrepreneurship from the practical assignments they have to complete
- Support – participants receive coaching and follow-up support via social media and through
- Sharing – by associating with other business-minded young people, participants become part of a community of purpose that facilitates sharing of valuable knowledge and real-life entrepreneurial experiences
- Profile – since the programme is highly competitive, those who make it into the programme and advance beyond the preliminary stage greatly enhance their profiles and CVs as they would have proven to be above the ordinary young entrepreneur
- Finance – some of the participants will receive financial support into their businesses as prizes at the end of the programme in March 2017
The first phase of the programme was completed in the period October to December 2016. Initial workshops were held in Chinhoyi, Mutare, Marondera, Bindura, Gweru, Bulawayo, Hwange, Gwanda, Masvingo and Harare. 660 young entrepreneurs attended the workshops and from this initial group 100 (10 per province) were selected to proceed to the next phase.
The second phase of the programme is currently underway. Participants were given a number of individual and group assignments to complete. One of the most important assignments they had to complete as individuals was to formally register their businesses preferably as a PBO. Participants are also required to attend on-going regional workshops as part of phase 2. The workshop for southern region provinces was held on the 16 th and 17 th of January 2017 and the one for the northern region is scheduled for the 19 th and 20 th of January 2017.
The third and final phase will see 20 participants being selected from the current 100. These 20 will receive seed capital to invest in their businesses and to provide the programme an opportunity to assess how effectively the participants use this money in their businesses. Based on this assessment the final top 10 participants will be selected as winners. The 10 winners will receive cash prizes of amounts ranging from $600 to $3,000 for investing in their businesses. The winners will receive their prizes at an awards ceremony scheduled for March 2017. A total of $12,000 will directly go to the participants to benefit their businesses.
CBZ Holdings and Empowered Life Trust are committed to continue supporting young entrepreneurs beyond the YEP programme hence various ideas are being developed in this regard including follow-up coaching sessions. To ensure that a critical mass of growth-oriented young entrepreneurs is produced, CBZ will invest substantial resources into the programme and is already planning to run the programme again during the second half of 2017 with a completely new crop of young entrepreneurs. It is the vision of the partnering organisations to see a significant number of participants’ businesses maturing into strong, sustainable, profitable businesses generating substantial revenues, employing considerable numbers of employees and impacting the economy positively.