Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia - YENZ

Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia - YENZ

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Last Update: September 18, 2012

The Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia-YENZ is a locally-bred, youth-driven, non-political and non-profit ’youth business association’ and entrepreneur support network of choice, designed to be a collaborative platform for the availing of innovative, appropriate, practical and sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges that undermine sustainable youth enterprise development in Zambia. The organization is a multi-sector business association formed with the overall objective of fostering sustainable youth enterprise development in Zambia, through among other strategies: Entrepreneur mobilization and networking; Business/entrepreneurial knowledge development; and the Facilitation and mediation of increased access to business financing opportunities among the membership.

The association shall have a national footing in form of semi-independent regional/district chapters. But shall initially operate in the Lusaka urban district, which shall also be home to the National Entrepreneurs Center (NEC). The NEC shall be the activity hub of the organization also providing physical space for its operations as well as providing physical networking networking and learning facilities and infrastructure for the membership.

The YENZ was founded in July 2010 by a youth entrepreneur Paul K. Nyambe. YENZ is registered with the National Youth Development Council (NYDC), in accordance with the Act of parliament No. 7 of 1986 and Cap 144 of the laws of Zambia.

Type: citizen sector

The Problem

The Zambian business development landscape in general is characterized by a number of structural and systemic enterprise development challenges and limitations. The root causes of these challenges are numerous and may include among others, the myopic and/or non-pragmatic economic and business planning methods by the planners that be at different private and public sector levels, whose emphasis is largely survival-oriented, and the negative/non-appropriate cultural backgrounds among others. These all together compound a resultant traditional lack of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. Hence depriving us of the benefits of sustainable enterprise development. Worse still, this is in fact immense in the context of youth entrepreneurs who are naturally disadvantaged by the realities that define them.There are also a limited employment opportunities in the country, and it can only be helpful to create an enabling environment for those that choose to take the entrepreneurial path. On the other hand, entrepreneurship development and the promotion of sustainable enterprise development among the citizenry is today a mainstay in the economic development efforts of most progressive economies of the world, and with more emphasis placed on youth entrepreneurs as they are the living hope for sustained social and economic development. Solving issues affecting youth entrepreneurs shall also be vital in eradicating poverty and creating jobs among the youth.

The Solution

The effective creation of the a client-driven and led solution like the Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia is the most effective way to address the challenges of sustainable youth enterprise development in Zambia. The association presents an innovative and collaborative model that brings together various core partners and elements/services in the promotion and facilitation of sustainable enterprise development among the membership, by making available the relevant member services. Here is how relevant this model is: The organization is managed by the members/beneficiaries themselves through an elected Executive Committee. Members of the organization collectively come up with creative ways through the organizational platform on how best they can avail to themselves the respective enterprise development services. And then the organizational platform engages/platform with relevant key service providers and stakeholders on behalf of its membership, which naturally they would otherwise individually not be able to access. The organization also comes up with relevant in-house enterprise development services that it strategically avails to its membership. This development solution may ordinarily seem to be a simple and common model, but it uniquely and timely presents an exciting and unlimited array of possibilities in the economic development landscape of our country Zambia.

Example

One area on how the YENZ development model endeavors to make a difference, is in the area of facilitation and mediation of increased access to business financing opportunities among the membership. It is common knowledge that youth entrepreneurs naturally are not able to access business finance from traditional commercial banks. The organization endeavors to cover this gap by seeking strategic/smart partnerships with relevant stakeholders. For instance, the YENZ can structure an an agreement involving a desired commercial bank, credit guarantee fund or development finance institution and the organization itself, with a view of lobbying for tailored financial access for its membership. With the organization providing the business knowledge development aspect to potential member clients, the bank widening its doors to members of the organization following the guarantee provided by the third party in the agreement the credit guarantee service provider, proving in kind collateral for member borrowers. By so doing, the bank would be more willing to lend to these otherwise conventionally considered high risky clients. And these member clients would now be able to sustainable grow or start their businesses with the availability of appropriate investment capital... It is this kind of partnerships and initiative that are needed to solve the challenges of our time.

Budget: $10,000 - $50,000

Marketplace

There has been a very limited number of somewhat similar programs in Zambia, aimed at solving a similar challenge. Further, there a lot variations with the YENZ model in terms of their formation, management and implementation. One thing that is common in all of such past and present initiatives, is their lack of pragmatism and sustainability. The YENZ model therefore presents in its own right unique and exciting enterprise development possibilities in the economic landscape of Zambia. The unique, social and economic relevance and compelling model of the Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia therefore puts well it well poised to favorably compete for development resources both at home and abroad. The model of Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia if well executed also presents opportunities for replication in other developing countries in Africa or even across the globe. This indeed may seem to be an ordinary model but is truly one that has a fresh look and feel. And we are determined to effectively going to do this capitalizing on the failures and inadequacies of the past.

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Need

Calling on well wishers to support us with organizational development funding so as to timely and effectively enable us to develop a formidable Youth Entrepreneurs Network of Zambia. The organization is still a start up and hence challenged with accessing funding from mainstream sources.Any...

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