YouthConnekt Africa is a platform which seeks to bring partners together to help empower the continent’s youth to play a meaningful role in the development of their respective countries, and the continent as a whole.  The Youth Connekt initiative is currently being piloted in Zimbabwe, by a partnership which is led by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation (MoYSAR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The pilot will focus on skills development, entrepreneurship training, dialogue, networking and mentorship, with the ultimate goal of connecting youth to opportunities and to stakeholders.

The Start-Up Tour Bus is the first initiative which has been launched under the Youth Connekt Zimbabwe banner, providing an opportunity for young innovators and entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-35 to get business training and to enter their start-up businesses into a competition, with a  $5000 (USD) prize per Province. These businesses should be innovative and have the potential to create jobs and in so doing, contribute to economic development. The 10 Provincial winners will proceed to the National Finals to be held in September.

To join the bus and take part in the training in the different provinces, participants can sign up on the Youth Connekt Zimbabwe Facebook page, or fill out the registration form: https://forms.gle/xoLpVTuuAwu9XmQn7

Alternatively, registration can be done at the Provincial MoYSAR offices. Further details about Youth Connekt Zimbabwe and the bus tour can also be found on Twitter @YouthConnektZim

The bus tour has launched in Bindura and it will spend 2 days in each Province conducting a packed programme of training on Day 1, and the Provincial pitching competition on Day 2.  The bus tour dates are as follows:

  • 4-5 July, Bindura
  • 8-9 July, Gwanda
  • 11- 12 July, Masvingo
  • 15-16 July, Chinhoyi
  • 18-19 July, Mutare
  • 20-21 July, Marondera
  • 25-26 July, Harare
  • 1-2 August, Gweru
  • 5-6 August, Lupane
  • 8-9 August, Bulawayo
  • 6th September National Final Harare

In addition to business training and the pitch competition, organisations working in the youth space are invited to participate in Provincial exhibitions which will happen at the same time as the start-up tour. Youth and youth stakeholders are therefore invited to attend, even if they are not participating in the training or the competition.

Youth Connekt was initiated in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNDP and currently, ten other African countries are at various stages of setting up. Initiatives in each country are informed by each country context as well as the Youth Connekt Africa objectives. In Zimbabwe , planned Youth Connekt activities have been informed by the needs of youth as articulated by the country’s youth at the Youth Indaba held in February 2019.

In addition to  UNDP and MoYSAR, Youth Connekt is being implemented in partnership with: Tag Team Productions, Elevate Youth, Higher Life Foundation,  Steward Bank, Impact Hub, Micah Foundation, UN Volunteers, Innovators’ Hub Clubs, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the SME Department in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

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