Youth, women entrepreneurs encouraged to embrace technology – Capital Radio Malawi
23 May, 2024

Youth, women entrepreneurs encouraged to embrace technology

Mzuzu E-Hub board chairperson Julius Ng’oma has challenged youth and women budding entrepreneurs in the country to fully utilize emerging technologies as a means to propel the growth of their businesses.

The call was made during a recent Pitch Night organized by the Mzuzu based Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation Hub.

At the event, young and female entrepreneurs operating dynamic and sustainable enterprises presented their business concepts, with some securing startup funding for their ventures.

Ng’oma emphasized that in a rapidly changing world, digital skills are paramount across various sectors and it is imperative for youth and women to harness available technologies to advance their businesses.

“We recognize the need to support the government in creating jobs and one critical area that needs recognition in terms of job creation is promoting entrepreneurship among young people and women,” Ng’oma said.

He added; “we feel that entrepreneurship would actually help in creating a prosperous nation. You cannot create a prosperous nation if you do not have that spirit of entrepreneurship in young people and women. However, for them to grow and contribute to the economic growth of the country, they need to embrace technology.”

Paul Kanthambi, Data Centre Technical Project Manager at Public Private Partnership Commission – PPPC, echoed the sentiments, underscoring that leveraging existing technologies will not only facilitate business growth but also contribute to the realization of the Malawi 2063 Agenda.

“You will appreciate that ICT and digitization is a way to go. By exploiting technologies, we will find ourselves to be a nation that will be doing things differently and more efficiently and by exploiting those technologies, the youths will be innovative enough and thereby bring about solutions that are going be helping the nation,” Kanthambi said.

During the pitch night, twelve entrepreneurs presented their business ideas across two categories, six in the youth innovation challenge and other six under women in business.

Each category produced three winners with the first winner securing K2.5 million seed capital, K1.5 million for the second place and third winner getting K1 million across the two categories.

In the youth innovation category, Alice Ndau of Eco-Tech Solutions presented the winning pitch followed by Bright Banda of Green Business Solutions and Matthews Kumwenda of Green for Africa.

Under the women in business category, Joyce Mpuweni Thindwa of Shalom Fashion Designs and Training Centre came first followed by Sue Hara Denis of SD Innovation and Information as well as Alinafe Chirwa of Nafe Designers Tailoring.

Notably, the event shed light on persistent struggles that the youth and women entrepreneurs face when seeking funding to actualize their business ideas. These include high borrowing rate and stringent loan conditions imposed by financial institutions.

Acknowledging this challenge, Mzuzu E-Hub Board Chairperson urged the government and other stakeholders to devise sustainable solutions.

“Our plea to the government is to evaluate the financing sector, how is it going to be supporting some of these beautiful ideas and initiatives that young people and others have but they are not able to grow their businesses to support the economy,” Ng’oma said.

Meanwhile, Alice Ndau of Eco-Tech Solutions, a winner in the Youth Challenge is planning to use the seed capital she received to grow her business and help establish a solar –powered irrigation scheme to help farmers.

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