Zeengaz wins  best youth  business award From Left, ZimTrade chairperson Ms Clara Mlambo, Secretary for Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training, Solomon Mhlanga, War Veterans of The Liberation Struggle Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, Ecobank chairman Mr Emmanuel Gwatidzo and ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru pose with Zeengaz Processed Foods founders after their company was awarded Overall Winner of the Eagles Nest Youth Export incubation programme for 2023

Business Reporter

INDIGENOUS Zeengaz Processed Foods emerged as the Overall Winner of national trade development and promotion body, ZimTrade’s Eagles Nest Youth Export incubation programme for 2023.

The Eagle Nest youth export incubation programme was launched in 2020 to inculcate an export culture among youth driven enterprises in Zimbabwe.

It is premised on the understanding that meaningful trade and economic development require the involvement of underserved groups, particularly young people.

Thandie’s Village, which specialises in heritage-based foods, was the first runner-up in the competition while Comrade’s Beverages and House of Moringa, which fall under processed and heritage-based foods categories had a tie as second runners-up.

Paper Pieces (functional arts) won the Best Innovation award, and Chjaa Enterprises (clothing and textile) walked away with the Best Value Addition award.

The Environmental Impact award went to Noble Savage, a Building and Construction enterprise.

Now in its third year, Eagles Nest Youth export incubation bridges the knowledge gap by bringing different stakeholders together to support and nurture youth-led businesses across Zimbabwe into viable export-ready companies.

This initiative anchors on the recognition by the National Youth Policy that the participation of young people in economic activities provides sustainable livelihood to the majority of the population.

The programme uses a pool of mentors, who are successful local business owners to provide practical solutions that will aid in navigating some of the difficult business terrain.

Speaking during the award presentation ceremony, Secretary for Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training, Solomon Mhlanga said the programme aligned with the Government’s commitment to fulfilling the constitutional obligation of affording economic empowerment opportunities to youths.

“This deliberate targeting of youth for access to economic empowerment opportunities is critical in our endeavor to mainstream the youth in all developmental programs of the country.

“The event signifies that youth’s responsibility is not the sole responsibility of the government but a collective that cuts across Government ministries, agencies, the private sector, and NGOs, it is everybody’s business.

“It is important for us to harness youth potential for national development, the program has shown that our youth have capabilities that can influence economic development in all spheres of our economy,” said Mr Mhlanga.

ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru said the support accorded to the youth contributes to the export base of the country and will undoubtedly go a long way in spreading the country’s footprint across the globe through the supply of quality goods and services.

“We are proud that we are doing something that is meeting demand and most importantly, we are changing lives. We have seen the small become the great through our lenses,” said Majuru.

United Nations (UN) Women Country Representative Miss Fatou Lo, pledged more support towards the program and promised to bring along UN sister agencies to rally along the Eagles Nest Program.

“We can all agree that the future of the whole world is being played right here in Africa, so looking at a brilliant initiative like this, youths of Africa are coming together to change the trajectory of this continent and you are on the right path and as UN we are here to support.

“We appreciate the work that ZimTrade is doing and as UN Women we would like to see more participation of women in the programme, when opportunities are given to us even if the sky is not the limit,” she said.

Ecobank chairman Mr. Emmanuel Gwatidzo said the incubation program was an integral part of its vision as a Pan-Afrocentric bank.

“The program has been of particular interest to the bank due to the huge potential it has in grooming and nurturing tomorrow’s large corporations, the future is Pan African and Ecobank is there to help you get there,” Mr Gwatidzo said.

Youths that participated in the program were drawn from various sectors of the economy, including processed foods, horticulture, clothing and textiles, agricultural inputs and services

ZimTrade last year won the World Trade Promotion Organisation (WTPO) award of Best Initiative for Inclusive and Sustainable Trade, in recognition of the body’s contribution to the development and facilitation of Zimbabwe’s exports.

This was after competing with nominees in the category which included Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, and Zambia.

ZimTrade collaborates with Netherlands-based PUM and SES of Germany, to offer support to selected organisations, by providing expert advice to businesses that will make youth-owned businesses competitive.

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