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BVTA capacitates vendors with ICT skills

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) and partners have launched a program to capacitate young informal traders with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills to market their products online.

The project is titled Strengthening the Livelihoods and Resilience on Urban Youths (STELLER).

Other partners include Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) and Youth Innovation and Transformation Trust (YETT) who are the lead implementing partner in the project.

About 100 young informal traders have been undergoing online training so far under this project in the areas of entrepreneurship, financial lending saving schemes and how to use online platforms such as zoom.

In an interview, BVTA Director Michael Ndiweni said they want to help young informal traders embrace ICTs and be able to market online.

“So far we have also trained them on financial lending and saving schemes for them to come together and have their own internal lending as young people as well as generating their own capital to boost their businesses. We are going to train them on entrepreneurship, we are going to also create competitions on the best bankable idea, we are going to support them with small soft loans, or funds,” said Ndiweni.

“We have trained nearly 100 so far, targeting 600 by year end, young informal traders who are between the ages of 18 and 35. The response so far, it has been going on very well.”

Ndiweni said they are working on setting up an online platform where young traders will interface and market their products.

“We are also working on setting up an online platform, a hub for them to be also trading, interfacing there as young informal traders. That part is going to work through setting up the internet WIFI in markets, we have identified three markets here in Bulawayo, we are still engaging the local authority and also owners of those buildings for us to set up the WIFI hubs so that these young people can also access the internet in those spaces,” he said.

“The platforms would be like the usual where you create your own account and upload your stuff, we hope that the developer will also look at the issues of allowing people to upload offline, we hope it will have online-offline kind of facilities.”

He added that young people are also having online engagements through CITE where young people talk about their businesses, issues that affect them, their aspirations and market opportunities.

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