A new set of potential creators of jobs in Malawi have graduated under the Job for Youth Project of the Malawi Government.
Government launched the Jobs for Youth Project 2017, funded by the African Development Fund (ADF), with the aim of creating 17,000 jobs and 6,000 youth-owned businesses.
The project intends to economically empower the youths to be self-reliant and create decent employment through entrepreneurship programmes.
On 1st December, 2020 some 56 young men and women graduated after a rigorous mentorship in entrepreneurship, business planning and management at a function organized by Thanthwe Incubation and Acceleration Centre (THIAC) in Lilongwe.
Under the project, government is supporting eight business incubation centres across the country in the targeted sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, small scale mining and information communication technologies. Youths are placed in these centres for the mentorship.
So far, THIAC alone has trained a total of 225 incubates from across Malawi and 57 of its trainees have already established own businesses creating 188 jobs in their communities.
During the graduation, the incubates were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel comprising officials from Mhub Malawi, Maphunziro 265 and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute.
Edward Chilima, Director of Business Information and Training at SMEDI, said the trainees had demonstrated they had been motivated by the training to grow bigger in entrepreneurship and improve their marketing strategies.
He commended the government for partnering with local incubation centres such as THIAC in training the youths.
“It is commendable that Malawians who own institutions like THIAC can come up with big projects and use their skills to develop fellow Malawians. We saw the Director of Thanthwe herself, being an agri-preneur, imparting her skills and expertise into these youth through practical experience. This is very encouraging. We thank government and development partners for coming up with projects like these,” Chilima explained after the incubates graduation ceremony.
THIAC Director, Ngabaghila Chatata, said they have set up an agribusiness hub to contribute to the national entrepreneurship development agenda through provision of business incubation and acceleration services.
*“It is commendable that Malawians who own institutions like THIAC can come up with big projects and use their skills to develop fellow Malawians. We saw the Director of Thanthwe herself, being an agri-preneur, imparting her skills and expertise into these youth through practical experience. This is very encouraging. We thank government and development partners for coming up with projects like these,” Chilima explained after the incubates graduation ceremony. **
“We aim to train women and youth to become market leaders and be independent as part of job creation. Our vision is to be the centre of excellence for agribusiness in Malawi and beyond,” said Chatata.
One of the incubates that starred on the day was Yamikani Kaliphee who was declared the overall incubate winner. She was recognised for her passion in managing horticulture operations and utilisation of acquired academic skills in farming operations.
Kaliphee, 26, grows tomatoes, onions, beetroots, carrots, eggplants and lettuce, among other vegetables, at her 1.4 hectare Green Valley Farms which is located at Chapongo village in Traditional Authority Chitukula in Lilongwe district.
A confident Kaliphee told fellow incubates and the panel that her value proposition on her business is to provide sustained fresh, long shelf life vegetables delivered at customers’ doorsteps every Friday. “This I do throughout the year as my focus is on the farm and nowhere else. It is the farm that employs me,” she said.
The young agri-preneur hailed the mentorship programme. “It has equipped me with skills and knowledge on how to run a successful business. Most importantly, it has given me confidence to pursue my goal,” she said.
The Jobs for Youth Project recognises the challenges faced by youths which among others include low level of employment, lack of entrepreneurial mind-set and weak technical, business planning and management skills.
The project also cites lack of access to markets and information for youths engaging in agri-based businesses, lack of access to finance and weaknesses at the policy and regulatory level for the promotion of youth-owned small and medium enterprises among the challenges the youth face. The project is a direct response to UN Sustainable Development Goal number 8 on transforming economies for jobs and inclusive growth. It also complements the government’s vision to create one million jobs for Malawians.