Entrepreneurship and its role in supporting the growth of the economy is a topic of much debate in Malawi.
As unemployment continues to be a major challenge for many Malawians especially young people, the British Council in conjunction with the British High Commission is working with Malawian organisations active in the area of entrepreneurship to raise more awareness of it amongst young Malawians and help them to recognise the potential entrepreneurship holds as a viable and attractive alternative to seeking formal employment by others.
Through Zitheka! the Council is offering a free workshop tomorrow Thursday in the capital, Lilongwe where young people with an interest can learn from the experience of others and pick up new business skills to support their aspirations.
The one-day programme will also feature a panel discussion, featuring distinguished guest speakers to discuss the question: Entrepreneurship in Malawi: Challenges and Opportunities – How can we make it happen?
Reena Johl, Director of the British Council in Malawi, says youth employability is critical to the success of the economy and overall wellbeing of society in Malawi and many other countries.
“We are all aware of the challenges young people face in seeking gainful employment and want to help highlight how entrepreneurship can harness the potential and talent evident in young Malawians. There are undoubtedly challenges, but also there are many organisations already working hard to overcome these,” she says.
“Through the Zitheka (Make it happen) project, we will be bringing together young people and organisations working in entrepreneurship to examine the existing challenges and look at possible solutions. We all have to encourage young people in Malawi to look at self-employment as a credible way to earn a living for themselves and in time to provide employment to others. Ultimately, working with our partners we hope to strengthen and support long-term job creation in the Malawian economy and Entrepreneurship among the youth is one of the best ways to achieve this,” added Johl.
This project is part of the ‘Entrepreneurial Africa’ campaign being launched by the British Council to further support entrepreneurialism in Sub-Saharan Africa where a quarter of all young people are out of work and not in education.
This number is set to grow as populations grow if the problem is not addressed through collective action.
According to a statement from the British Council on March 19 2015, Zitheka! Will host a workshop in Lilongwe at Gateway Mall for 200 young people who will attend ‘Master classes’ in subjects essential to starting a new business.
These are business planning, resource mobilisation, product marketing and self-management and people skills. Interested individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 years old may register by texting their name, age and gender to 0997 99 29 04.
Through the panel discussion and ample networking opportunities the Zitheka! Programme provides, the 200 registered participants, access to a number of experienced entrepreneurs and experts who will share their knowledge as to how they can overcome business start-up challenges including financing, which is one of the problems young entrepreneurs face in Malawi.
Michael Nevin, British High Commissioner to Malawi says they are committed to supporting efforts in Malawi to increase youth employability and promoting economic growth.
“A high level of unemployment amongst young people is a global problem which we all face. Working with young Malawians to improve skills, encourage entrepreneurship and promote social enterprise, we believe can help enable them to realise their potential and become active and effective agents of change in strengthening the country’s economy and society’s well-being” Says Nevin.