More than 74 million young people worldwide are unemployed. This massive number presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the private companies, non-profits, governments, academics, and funders who are focused on creating opportunities for youth globally. This week, Zoona joined 450+ of those most interested in creating sustainable change for youth at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Summit was a great opportunity to learn how Zoona’s support for emerging entrepreneurs in Africa connects with the larger picture of support to youth entrepreneurs globally. At Zoona, we have created at least 750 new jobs in Zambia through our agent network, and recently partnered with the National Youth Council of Malawi to recruit and train over 80 young people to manage Zoona agent locations in Malawi.
Our agents are empowered to manage their own business while receiving financing, marketing, and training support from Zoona. Training is critical to their success; yet, it’s also a challenge, and to meet this challenge we are constantly learning, updating and modifying our training program. Therefore, we were interested in much of the work presented at the conference on enterprise development, including the Enterprise Your Life approach to building life skills presented by IFAD, Making Cents, and Silatech. This approach highlighted how important life skills are for youth in business. For example, if a young person doesn’t think that she can say no to adults, she won’t say no when an adult asks her to buy something on credit, even if she would prefer not to take this risk with her business. Considering these type of life skills, as well as considering how young women and men may respond differently to the demands of running a business, help us to build a comprehensive approach to our training program.
As Zoona rapidly expands, we will continue to integrate lessons from the wider industry as we create more and more opportunities for young people in terms of both employment and ownership. We’re particularly excited to learn more at the Nike Foundation/Unreasonable Institute Girl Effect Accelerator next month.
For more on how Zoona is empowering youth through our agent network, I highly encourage you to listen to our agent tell you in their words by checking out these testimonials.