UNDP and EU step up in supporting the incubation of young entrepreneurs in Malawi

Posted June 6, 2022

With 74% of the population aged 30 years old and below, there is a need to invest in the young entrepreneurial base which is essential for Malawi’s national development

UNDP Malawi has begun an ambitious new journey to support the incubation of youth-led enterprises that will contribute to promoting an entrepreneurial culture and the creation of decent, formal jobs in Malawi.

In partnership with the European Union  in Malawi, The Zantchito Entrepreneurship and Access to Finance Project, part of a broader EU-effort in preparing students with the right skill-sets for job creation (Zantchito Skills for Jobs), is a strategic step forward towards a more effective collaboration with smaller-scale enterprises and under-served segments of the entrepreneurial community in the country.

The project aims to support over 3,800 entrepreneurs in the creation of new entrepreneurship ventures and in the formalization of existing enterprises with direct and indirect job creation that will be in excess of 7,600.

Commenting on the initiative, the UNDP Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara said, “UNDP places entrepreneurship at the centre of its programming and for the last eight years, we have been deploying innovative financial instruments to support the growth of the private sector in Malawi.”

In his remarks, the EU Head of Cooperation, Mr Ivo Hoefkens, said, “The EU is pleased to partner with the UNDP in efforts to support the Government of Malawi in its efforts to enhance inclusive and sustainable economic development and decent job creation in the country. This is underpinned in several government policy documents including the recently launched Malawi 2063 strategy.”

The private sector partnership with the EU is a strategic move to a more effective collaboration to empower new entrepreneurs and support new business ideas. The project focuses  on Micro, Small Enterprises (MSEs), with special attention to youth and women entrepreneurs, to promote an entrepreneurial culture, sustainable enterprise creation, and decent, formal jobs.

Young entrepreneurs in Malawi are faced with many challenges including access to affordable capital, business mentorship, and access to market   opportunities, among other roadblocks.

With 74% of the population aged 30 years old and below, there is a need to invest in the young entrepreneurial base which is essential for Malawi’s national development as outlined in the national development priorities.

The project is implemented in close coordination with the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Trade and Industry, with the EU contributing contribute EUR 13.5 million, and USD 1.2 million from UNDP.