CBZ’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) Has Been Consistently And Almost Silently Making A Difference

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CBZ Holdings together with Empowered Life Trust have been running the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) for 3 consecutive years. That in itself is a big deal. We have seen a lot of high sounding corporate social responsibility gimmicks that fizzle and die soon after launch.


The programme is quite intensive. Young people who get picked go through several weeks of training and mentorship. They also have an extensive reach, taking entrepreneurs across the country’s 10 provinces. From last year they opened the programme to entrepreneurs in rural areas too.

To date 2 900 entrepreneurs have gone through the programme. 52% of them are ladies. More than 400 businesses have been registered and are functioning as a result of the programme according to CBZ. That’s a very good conversion rate and that should mean they have a strong training programme.


Prize money

As part of the programme, the selected businesses compete with each other over the set period until winners are crowned at the end of the programme. The winners are given seed money to invest into their businesses. It’s really amazing to see how these small amounts make a difference and launch someone on an entrepreneurial journey.

For the current cycle, YEP has two tracks: one for businesses that have been operational for a year and beyond and the second one for startups that are at idea stage and up to 6 months of operation.

The total prize money they will give away is $31 500.


Alumni of YEP have been recognised elsewhere for their entrepreneurship. The 2017 winner, Ropafadzo Zimunya was featured in Forbes Africa and the runner up for that same year, Junior Bakasa was awarded by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in the Manufacturing category of their annual awards held last year.

Entrepreneurship is not equal to tech

ICT has become the most recognised sector when it comes to entrepreneurship. The CBZ programme does not fall into that trap. It simply identifies businesses that are solving or seeking to solve real problems in a profitable way. Technology must not be the objective of entrepreneurship but the enabler of it.

Tech allows solutions to scale and thus it’s very important but before we get to scale, it’s important for businesses to have the right unit economics. CBZ seems to be moving that particular needle.

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CBZ HoldingsRopafadzo ZimunyaZimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce

CBZ Holdings (formerly Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, and Jewel Bank) is one of the country's biggest and vibrant financial institutions which has stood the taste of time. The bank was established in 1980. The Bank of Credit and Commerce Zimbabwe Limited (BCCZ) was a joint... Read More About CBZ Holdings

Ropafadzo Zimunya is a Zimbabwean entrepreneur and Co-founder and CEO Greenit Diversified Group which makes Greenit Banana Flour. Zimunya won the CBZ Holdings Youth Entrepreneurship Programme (YEP) 2017/18 competition. The winners were announced on 8 March 2018. He was aged 20 at the time. Zimunya... Read More About Ropafadzo Zimunya

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce is an apolitical, non-profit, membership-based business association which has a mandate to equip business with development opportunities. ZNCC was established in 1894. Read More About Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce

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