Zimbabwe’s national export promotion body, ZimTrade last week launched a youth export incubation programme titled Eagles’ Nest, to nurture youth-led SMEs into export ready companies.
The move is in line with ZimTrade’s goal to increase the country’s exports and this requires the participation of everyone in national economic activities, particularly young people. The Eagles nest programme will run from March to December this year in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru and will focus on youth-led businesses with potential for export markets.
Giving opening remarks at the Eagles’ Nest youth export incubator launch cocktail held in Harare last Friday, ZimTrade chief executive Allan Majuru, said it is important to include young people in all activities aimed at increasing Zimbabwe’s share of the export market as they represent the future of a society and its economy.
“This programme is going to capacitate youths to be export ready . . . but we are not going to measure ourselves by the number of people who are going to export, we are going to focus on sustainability which is quite key and one vital thing for the youths to be sustainable is for them to get access to the market.
“If you have a market you definitely do business, but one challenge that we noted is people normally take a hobby and make it a business. It’s fine, if a hobby meets demand you are in business, but if a hobby does not meet a demand you are going to get broke.
“So issues like financial literacy are going to be key. I know of some youths who have sold and exported and after that they go and buy a golden stick or a brand new Jeep Cherokee, they move around, tomorrow the business is gone, so those are the aspects that we are going to be looking into.
“This youth incubation programme will ensure that young people are capacitated and able to create sustainable export enterprises that guarantee the future trade success for Zimbabwe,” Mr Majuru said.
According to the International Trade Centre (ITC) a focus on youth in trade has become relevant today, as the young people account for a large and growing proportion of the population in many developing countries.
Meanwhile, Government through the guest of honour, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza welcomed and lauded ZimTrade’s move saying it supplemented its effort to drive exports growth in the country.
The incubation programme will be divided into 3 phases where 10 out of 100 youth-led companies will be chosen to participate in various training and interventions to capacitate them for the export markets.