Empowering graduates for life after college

Elizabeth Andreya Features Writer

Government recently announced a programme that will assist graduates with funds to implement business ideas beginning next year.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said a revolving fund dedicated to incubating ideas by college graduates will soon be available.

“People need skills, but they are not enough, there is also the money component which needs to be addressed objectively,” he said.

“So, as Government, through the Cabinet Committee on Job Creation which I chair, decided there is going to be Graduate Employment Empowerment Programme. This will be seed money given to start-ups created by our graduates.

“We will not be giving the money to individuals. They have to form companies or consortiums to access it. The people will have to prove the bankability of their idea to get the funds.”

Due to the current economic difficulties facing the country, graduates who wish to start their own businesses have been finding it difficult.

The Graduate Empowerment Programme, which the Government is putting in place to help these graduates is welcome as it will empower many.

Through this programme, students will no longer be jobless or complain over the limited employment opportunities.

Instead, they will start creating employment for other young people in their communities.

Unfortunately, in most cases, entrepreneurs are not aware of these Government programmes, specifically designed to help them.

There is little information on the various financial products available to entrepreneurs, never mind the application procedures.

It is, therefore, crucial for the responsible authorities to provide full information on these programmes.

This programme will also create decent jobs in the country in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UN website, encouraging entrepreneurship is key to decent job creation, as it is an effective measure to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking.

With such initiatives, Zimbabwe can achieve productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

To make this initiative a success, Government should put in place laws and policies where all beneficiaries of the fund are compelled to repay loans within a certain period.

The ministry should also do background checks of those who need these funds.

In many cases, the bona fide beneficiaries are not able to access the fund because of corruption.

Strict policies on how to choose people who will benefit from the programme, those who have meaningful business ideas, should be put in place.

More so, to make this initiative a success, business training and mentorship programmes for beneficiaries are required.

Research has shown that lack of skills leads to business failure.

Entrepreneurial education is also needed to enhance skills and knowledge if these graduates are going to start their own businesses.

Low levels of financial literacy can influence the degree to which entrepreneurs access formal sources of finance.

Therefore, entrepreneurship education should be made accessible to all tertiary learners in order to equip them for life in business.

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