Youth informal traders in Bulawayo and Harare are set to benefit from a revolving fund meant to boost their businesses under the Strengthening the Livelihoods and Resilience for Urban Youths (STELLAR) project.
The project is being implemented by Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), and Youth Innovation and Transformation Trust (YITT).
Speaking with CITE, one of the partners in the project, BVTA Director Michael Ndiweni said plans to roll out the revolving funds are at an advanced stage.
“We have not agreed on the number of beneficiaries as yet but we have some resources, small start-up capital. The idea is just to try and strengthen these young traders’ businesses. We have not come up with the number but a significant percentage of that group will at least get something, as soon as we decide on the numbers and also the figures on how much we will give, we will share the information, right now we are developing the strategy on how we are going to roll out the funds, but we are at an advanced stage in terms of the preparations,” said Ndiweni.
“We expect them to repay the small support that we are going to give them so that other young people can benefit who may not have benefited from the initial stage of the support.”
Under the project, about 250 informal traders have been trained on entrepreneurship.
“We have also trained these young people on entrepreneurship so that we prepare them for the revolving funds, we have also made them understand policy issues that may hinder or affect their businesses and also see how they can identify opportunities when they are going about expanding their business,” he said.
“The idea is just to give them as much information as possible so that when they are getting the support at least they understand the context around them and also they understand how they can expand their businesses and ways where they can work together in groups.”
He said the STELLAR project partners are also in the process of installing WIFI in different spots to assist young informal traders embrace the idea of trading online.
“We are also going to try and assist them at least access internet for those who are near markets, we are going to install WIFI so that they can embrace the idea of trading online as we know that Covid-19 is continuously restricting people’s physical interaction so the idea is to try and also mitigate those challenges brought by Covid-19 by encouraging them to trade online through the provision of WIFI spots,” said Ndiweni.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)