Youth for Social Entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe

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Guest blogger Lisah Nyamadzawo is back and blogging about social entrepreneurship: why it’s important for young people and how you can get involved.

Traditionally, a typical Zimbabwean dream would be to pass Grade 7 with 4 points, get 10 subjects at O level, 15 points at A level, go to university, graduate then get a job. However, many have come to realise that this sequence and conventionality is not always the case.

As we grow up, we realise that some of us are not cut out for University, or even for academia. Especially common is the realisation that that dream job you’ve always dreamt of is not available for you. So what do you do?

Many young Zimbabweans have come to realise that the government will not save them from unemployment, so they have shifted their gaze onto social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship has in recent years gained traction with many young people.

They are coming up with ideas and start-ups in the fields of health, agriculture, renewable energy, online businesses, e-learning, ICT, transport and on-demand services. The government also set aside $25 million for the ICT Young Innovators Fund, which is aimed at rewarding young tech innovators.

Young people are no longer waiting for someone to change the situation for them, but are taking the initiative to better their own lives. With the realisation that the government itself is not able to efficiently provide and let alone manage public goods, it has become an opportunity for social enterprises to rise and make a difference.

One commenter said, ‘the more problems a country has, the more opportunities it presents for social entrepreneurs’.

Becoming a social entrepreneur, like becoming anything, is not easy. However, that shouldn’t deter anyone from pursuing that line of work. The most important aspect is to have a clear social mission: what is it that you want to achieve? What impact to society do you want to bring? The success of a social enterprise is based on social value more than profit, but a social enterprise must be run like a business.

Additionally, the rise of social entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe has given rise to quite a number of innovation hubs, accelerators, co-working spaces, entrepreneurship boot camps and so forth. These are the places where people can grow their enterprises through networking, mentorship, grants, working space, marketing, etc.

Innovation challenges are also a space where one can perfect their idea, learn to pitch, negotiate with investors and make their products known. This ecosystem has made entrepreneurship a whole lot easier, and if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s important that you also become a part of it.

Submitted by Lisah Nyamadzawo, a rising social entrepreneur with a demonstrated passion of working in the information technology and green public services industry. Experienced in urban design, social innovation, workshop moderation, research and strategic planning, she is also a strong environmental and health sustainability professional with a Bachelor’s degree in rural and urban planning from the University of Zimbabwe. 

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Peace Child International.

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