Harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit in youth around Malawi
June 29, 2023
Malawi is a largely youthful population with over 80% aged below 35 years. Despite their significant ratio, young people often face barriers that hinder their development and consequently, their contribution to the development of the country.
In recognizing the key role that the youth play in development, the Malawi 2063 Vision, which outlines the development aspirations for the nation, puts the youth in the forefront as key implementors to help achieve an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation. The vision acknowledges how the economic empowerment of the youth is a significant catalyst in the transformation of the country.
To help create jobs and business opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Malawi, the Government of Malawi in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing an incubation program called the Zantchito Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance project with support from the European Union.
The six-year project is providing opportunities for young Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Training (TEVET) graduates, Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSEs) and university graduates, with particular attention to women’s needs.
With a business finance grant of USD 7.1 million, Zantchito is targeting 3,800 enterprises whereby 40% of them will be women-owned, and create 7,640 jobs by the end of the initiative in 2027.
To help promote entrepreneurship and showcase their business incubators, graduates from the Zantchito Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance project joined other university graduates and entrepreneurs from across the country for a two-day National TEVET Conference, which was held from 20-21 April 2023 in Lilongwe.
In her remarks, the Minister of Labour, Honorable Agnes Nyalonje who graced the occasion said; “I applaud the organizers of this conference which provides an opportunity for participants to celebrate TEVET’s achievements and milestones, to exchange ideas, learn from each other, brainstorm, share best practices and charter the way forward.”
Fashion designer and entrepreneur, Chiza Mhango is one of many success stories of TEVET, which has enabled her to increase her workforce of talented young men and women for her brand, Chiza Clothing Line. Speaking on the opportunities that her clothing line has opened to other aspiring designers, she stated, “TEVET has technical colleges that train fashion and design students. So far, they have sent us four students who will work with us for a one-year internship. After their time with us, they can return to school or continue working with us.”
Duncan Chande, a solar specialist, and the founder of a company called Technical Solutions, is one of the young entrepreneurs creating environmentally friendly innovations for his business and is working to open the first-ever solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in Malawi. He states, “I would especially like to put the charging stations in hard-to-reach areas around Malawi because some of those areas do not have gas stations due to the absence of ESCOM in those areas.”
European Union to Malawi Attaché, Mr. Daniele Teccarelli spoke on the importance of aligning entrepreneurial interventions with region-specific needs stating, “In our approach to Zantchito, we would like to have a more territorial approach where national training colleges and the network of secondary colleges are linked to the specific economic opportunities present in specific districts or in the region.”
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