EMPOWERBANK has unveiled a $120 million youth loan facility business start-up kit and working capital.
The bank yesterday launched the Youth Business Starter Packs (YBSP) programme from its current capital resources for youth across the country to access loans.
YBSP was launched by the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Kirsty Coventry who urged the youth to utilise the loans and contribute to Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 of building a middle-income economy by the year 2030.
Dr Coventry said the rollout of the YBSP will give the bank a new impetus to positively impact the lives of all young entrepreneurs across Zimbabwe.
YBSP is a loan product designed by EmpowerBank as a business financing model for turnkey business prototypes to assist young entrepreneurs quickly get started in business or expand their business operations.
Dr Coventry said she was happy that the loans were designed to address the topical challenges faced by youth such as high interest rates and short loan periods.
“Youths, this is your bank and I urge you to make use of it to the full. I will ensure that the bank through its board will continuously improve its working model to meet your ever-changing complex requirements given the changes in technology and the economic environment that we operate in, to bring modern banking facilities to your doorstep for your economic empowerment.
“We want you to contribute meaningfully to Zimbabwe’s vision 2030 of building a middle-income economy by the year 2030, and to improve livelihoods. I urge all youth to responsibly seize the opportunities brought about by EmpowerBank’s Youth Business Starter Packs, to ensure their own economic empowerment and that the country realises the economic dividend rooted in the youths,” she said.
YBSP loans will be extended at competitive interest rates which are five percent below those charged by mainstream commercial banks and are extended for periods of up to 18 months at flexible collateral terms and collateral free for smaller loan sizes.
Dr Coventry said the future belonged to the youths and a brighter future is in the hands of economically empowered youths.
“This will go a long way to allow youth projects to be viable. However, the need for youth to repay these loans offered at favourable terms is of national importance and cannot be overemphasised. The proposed distribution of these resources is tailored to contribute significantly to the NDS1 priority areas of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Culture, Food and Nutrition Security, and Devolution.
“This is envisaged to fulfil His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa’s quest to empower youth to guarantee the attainment of an upper middle-income economy by the year 2030.”
EmpowerBank vice chairperson Mrs Rudo Kumirai said they have disbursed more than $145 million and have trained over 65 youth across the country.
Mrs Kumirai said they were extending their economic empowerment products to more youth in all the 10 provinces across the country.
“The Youth Business Starter Pack is addressing the major challenges the youth were yelling of collateral and high interest rates.
“The tenure of the starter pack is 18 months with a loan facility of up to US$5 000 at 44 percent interest per annum. It will fund projects in all the sectors,” she said.