In 2009, Harare-based Empretec came on board with just two weeks to go before GEW. In spite of this, they were able to pull together six events attended by 120 people. These included mentoring, conferences, and video screenings of young successful Zimbabwean entrepreneurs. Q&A sessions also featured, with three key business leaders in the rubber, stationery and construction industries whose clients include elite hotel chains, the Reserve Bank, the Police, and the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
Empretec also garnered the support of The Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment who, despite having to cancel his appearance as Keynote Speaker in Harare due to unforeseen circumstances, provided his full moral support for GEW. The President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce Obert Sibanda served as Keynote Speaker at events in Bulawayo, the nation’s second-largest city.
“We believe we did well especially as 2009 was our first year and we had just one week to organise the activities,” says Busi. “We are confident that next year we will have an even bigger event.”
And it looks like they are right on track. For GEW’10, Empretec will continue to work with The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment with whom they have already partnered with in several other successful youth initiatives in the past. “This excellent relationship will help to push our agenda of promoting entrepreneurship in the country further,” says Busi, whose biggest ambition for GEW is to bring the events to rural Zimbabwe. Conversations are now underway with partners and potential sponsors on how to best implement the line-up of activities and events – in Harare and Bulawayo for now, though hopefully in more remote areas in three years.
Such ambitions are most inspiring in view of the ongoing political challenges that Zimbabwe faces. Still, Empretec remains undeterred. “There is an amazing oomph and energy with GEW,” Busi says proudly. “We are excited about being part of a global programme that seeks to economically empower people.”