Young people should be financially empowered to venture into SMEs

Dear Editor,
FOR any country to develop economically, there is need for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These enterprises play a critical role in spurring the economy of the country.
Big economies like China and the United States of America have greatly benefitted from the SMEs. Furthermore, they contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation.
Zambia is a developing nation which is in dire need of development so that people’s standard of living can improve by enabling them buy goods and services at reasonable prices.
In this era where there are many graduates without jobs due to limited job opportunities, venturing into business is actually the best option of addressing high levels of unemployment.
In the past, running or venturing into business was the preserve of the old people and the uneducated. Nowadays, things have changed; young people preferably the educated ones venture into business to earn a living. By stating this I don’t mean that those without formal education cannot venture into business. They can too venture into business. Venturing into business is one thing and running the business successfully is another. This is because of the numerous challenges these entrepreneurs face. The major constraints have been lack of capital, lack of skilled manpower and lack of entrepreneurial skills among other factors.
It is true to mention here that many people particularly youths, intend to venture into business, but they cannot do so because they lack funds.
Accessing loans from either banks or micro financial institutions is not easy. This is because of the bureaucracy involved. If the youth wants to obtain a loan, the financial institution will request for collateral in form of assets like house, motor vehicle, plot to mention but a few.
In view of this, there is need for the government to empower the young people with finances and entrepreneurial skills. The young people can acquire entrepreneurial skills through workshops.
The financial institutions should consider providing flexible conditions for the young people so that they can access loans. This will enable them venture into enterprises of their preference. In this way, they will be able to contribute to the GDP of the country.
Our young people have the potential to spur the economy of our country. It is therefore imperative to empower them financially so that they can venture into SMEs. Now is the right time to do this.


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