By Lovejoy Mutongwiza
A new youth organization called Hozi Innovator has been launched with the support of the U.S Embassy in Zimbabwe.
The organization aims to empower underprivileged young people in urban and rural areas with entrepreneurial skills.
Hozi Innovator received a grant from the U.S Embassy under the alumni engagement innovation fund, which supports Zimbabweans who have participated in exchange programs in the U.S. The organization plans to use the grant to conduct a series of training workshops across the country.
The first workshop was held in Harare on Tuesday, where local youths learned how to launch and develop their own businesses.
The workshop covered topics such as identifying opportunities, engaging in customer discovery, design thinking, feasibility, financing, and planning for success.
One of the founders of Hozi Innovator, Leslie Makwembere, said that the organization’s goal is to help young people achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship.
“We came together and got a grant under the alumni engagement innovation fund. We planned for this event, this is the first of a series of trainings to empower young people with entrepreneurship skills,” Makwembere said.
Rebecca Archer-Knepper, the Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S Embassy in Zimbabwe, said that the U.S is committed to supporting young Zimbabweans in creating positive change in their communities.
“We have thousands of alumni working in Zimbabwe creating really positive change in our communities and so we provide funding so they can take what they learnt in the US and apply it here in Zimbabwe, share it with other people and have a ripple effect,” Archer-Knepper said.
Many young Zimbabweans are forced to start their own businesses due to high unemployment rates.
Lenon Chihova, an architectural designer who attended the workshop, said that trainings like the one organized by Hozi Innovator will help youths build sustainable businesses.
“Trainings like the one organized by Hozi Innovator will help them boost our businesses and give us the skills we need to succeed in business,” Chihova said.
Some of the youths who attended the launch in Harare expressed their optimism that the training will help them overcome the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe.
Chantel Chinhema, from Harare’s Southlea Park suburb, said that she is confident that her business idea will flourish after the training.
The grant project will be implemented in Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Bulawayo, targeting to train 240 underprivileged youths.
The organization has partnered with EduFri from Eswatini and Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa, U.S.A.
The participants will have an opportunity to pitch their businesses for money and receive certificates of training from Hozi Innovator and the Jacobson Institute.