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UNDP empowers young entrepreneurs

The UNDP’s Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) will host three fully sponsored boot camps under the organisation’s Enhancing Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development project (EYES) to train young women and men entrepreneurs.

The boot camps will be held in Mohale’s Hoek for districts in the southern region from September 16 to 20; in Leribe for districts in the northern region from the September 23 to 27; and in Maseru for the September 29 to October 4.

The Entrepreneurs Network therefore invites young male and female entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30 to register for business boot camp training. The boot camps are aimed at empowering youth entrepreneurs in Lesotho with formalizing their businesses, providing them with relevant business training and insights in the sectors they are operating in.

According to a UNDP statement released yesterday, the initiative is informed by the fact that the youth have the power to change the present and future developments of their countries or communities; they are the majority population at any given time; their energy and productivity are undeniable; they embrace technology and are the biggest consumers of products and services. Lesotho’s current economic and technological climate is poor and one of the main reasons is limited access to skills development opportunities for the youth.

The UNDP through the EYES project aims to contribute solutions towards youth unemployment in Lesotho.

The project is aimed at promoting youth creativity and innovative thinking for entrepreneurship and social development, to enable the establishment of sustainable businesses and employment creating initiatives. The UNDP has engaged The Entrepreneurs Network to facilitate boot camps in Lesotho to empower Youth entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurs Network Lesotho is a two partner organization with one male as an executive chairman and one female as a director, both with other outside entrepreneurial ventures of their own, and each receive equal support in the organization.

A platform to discuss economic issues and create a ‘safe space’ for Entrepreneurs which is the Entrepreneurs Network was informally created four years back. It hosts monthly meetings called The Hook-Up Dinner (THUD) that are geared towards capacitating Entrepreneurs and start-ups by connecting them to relevant potential partners and investors. The Network also hosts an annual Entrepreneurship Expo in celebration of Entrepreneurs week. The network has equal representation of male and female entrepreneurs that participate in all its initiatives every year.

The EYES strategy in 2019 has been focused on Building Sustainable Value Chains through the Government of Lesotho’s NSDP II. The thematic areas are agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and technology solutions and the objectives of the plan are to address economic growth, poverty reduction, inclusive & sustainable growth among others.

Its objectives are aligned with those of The Entrepreneurs Network Lesotho and the UNDP Enhancing Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development (EYES) project for both young male and female entrepreneurs.

They include presenting equal opportunities to social entrepreneurs as well as profit making entrepreneurs; encouraging youth entrepreneurs to use innovative business strategies to solve

everyday problems; capacitating youth entrepreneurs with the business skills needed to make their businesses/start-ups sustainable; sharing relevant insights and information relevant for businesses operating in the four main sectors; and helping businesses/start-ups explore and define their growth strategies.

Registration opened yesterday and closes on Friday next week. Registration forms can be downloaded and emailed to thudmaseru1@gmail.com or a Google forms can be filled in online through a link that will be provided on The Entrepreneurs Network, UNDP and BEDCO social media platforms.

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