The National Youth Enterprise Expo 2015 which is starts today at the Oshakati Sport Stadium in the Oshana region until Friday.
This year, the Expo is hosted under the theme, Youth Development, Focusing on Youth Employability, Livelihoods and Entrepreneurship. “The theme comes from the understanding that we should encourage, educate and empower young entrepreneurs. More than ever before, the world needs young people to stand up and be counted,” says Sharonice Davinnia Busch, one of the members of the National Youth Council (NYC). She adds that entrepreneurship changes lives and to change the world for the better, the Expo needs to create and support more young entrepreneurs.
Young entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs from all 14 regions are expected to exhibit their products and services in manufacturing, tailoring, arts and crafts, agriculture and the provision of services. According to Busch, the purpose of the event is to develop the inherent abilities and capabilities of young people both individually and collective and to encourage literacy and artistic activities among the youth. Through the Expo, the youth will have an opportunity to network and use it as platform to voice challenges they are facing as well as engage other successful youth entrepreneurs. “They also have an opportunity to showcase their creativities and talents and through this platform can emerge into partnerships with partners to the expo. They can directly [provide] solutions to the current youth unemployment gap,” says Busch.
She adds that the event has over the years grown in size with participation to date including young and successful exhibitors from all 14 regions. “This year we also have a Speaker’s Hall, where private sector and established businesses are sharing information and best practices with the young people. They will also be getting a registration pack that includes tool kits, manuals and crucial information linked to being a successful entrepreneur that will be given to the delegates,” she says.
In the past the Expo faced many challenges including the minimal involvement of the private sector as partners. “It is our hope that as we continue with the Expo, private sector will join the NYC in equipping the youth with the necessary skills and expertise that they need to become job creators,” Busch says adding that the categories of exhibitors have grown becoming relevant in addressing the skills gap necessary in the employment of the youth.
Prizes are available to the best exhibitors in the various categories, making the Expo highly competitive. The Speakers’ Hall is also one of the Expo’s highlights, because of its interactive nature, giving the youth not only an opportunity to network with Namibia’s current prominent businesspeople but also infusing the Expo with a learning element through sharing best practices with the youthful exhibitors.
The NYC has been holding the National Youth Enterprise Expo since 1997. The Expo has become known as a vibrant, high-profile, 3-day NYC’s event allowing young and aspiring entrepreneurs from across Namibia the opportunity to showcase their products and services, to interact and learn from one-another about business development opportunities.