VICTORIA Falls curio and craft operators have joined hands with a local non-governmental organisation to roll out an entrepreneurial skills development programme meant to capacitate budding enterprises.
The project is funded by the US Embassy meant to benefit local non-profit making organisations in the country. A total of 16 organisations have benefited from the fund and Youth Invest is the only one from Matabeleland region. Youth Invest (YI) was established last year and operates in Bulawayo and Hwange district.
Founding trustee and director, Miss Nomqhele Samantha Siziba, said the project was targeting SMEs in Sizind and Sidobe/Ndlovu areas on the outskirts of Victoria Falls where most curio vendors come from. She said the initiative seeks to improve quality of life by promoting rural tourism entrepreneurship.
“YI works to promote the youth’s sustainable socio-economic development through harnessing skills and aptitudes in building a Zimbabwean entrepreneurial ecosystem. In line with its focus on inclusive entrepreneurship, YI is implementing a vibrant and unique project aimed at promoting sustainable participation of youth entrepreneurs in mainstream economic development of Victoria Falls through effective capacity development,” said Miss Siziba.
She said the project involves skills training, business and marketing skills training as well as digital training.
“We want to promote entrepreneurship skills of curio producers focusing on training so that they produce products that tell a story about Victoria Falls. We are training them on digital and financial literacy so they can create and link with tour operators and tourists anywhere in the world,” she said.
Miss Siziba said they were working with other partners and using Victoria Falls as a pilot project before spreading to other areas.
“We chose Victoria Falls because it was designated a Special Economic Zone for tourism. We do not want the rural youths to be left out as they are the primary producers of curios.
“These youths should value add and help market tourism locally and internationally,” she said. — @ncubeleon.
Article Link: https://www.chronicle.co.zw/curio-craft-operators-get-empowered/