V2 Enterprises (Vee-Squared) is our youth-led and youth-run agribusiness and trade school. Every aspect of the operation presents an opportunity for the youth to acquire skills that will help them earn income, find employment, or start their own businesses.
They gain practical artisanal skills in woodworking; they learn to make, market, and sell candles; and they plant, nurture, harvest, advertise, and sell products from the market garden.
Vanavevhu currently produces an organic beeswax lip balm made from the beeswax harvested from our hives. The balm is made from beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, vitamin E oil, and essential oils: lavender, rose, vanilla. Honey and beeswax candles—beekeeping’s two main products—have a lucrative general market and value in Zimbabwe. Honey is cheaper and healthier than sugar, and candles are essential owing to the country’s frequent power outages.
A natural companion to beekeeping, candle making is a vehicle for Vanavevhu youth to learn product development, marketing, and sales. In addition to basic household candles, participants are designing candles for several niche markets—tapers for restaurants, votives for religious services, and shaped and colored candles for holidays. Until the hives in Douglasdale produce enough wax for a steady supply of candles, Vanavehu currently makes candles from a locally sourced paraffin wax. The candles are sold to local shops, safari lodges, churches, and individuals.
Market gardening has a logical connection to apiculture, and also serves as a separate solid source of income. Our permaculture program also teaches the youth food production techniques that further strengthen their food security at home. Among our crops are foodstuffs less readily available in Bulawayo, such as salad greens, oyster mushrooms, and strawberries. Our produce is sold at high-end restaurants and greengrocers in the city. We also have a thriving preserve business selling organic jams and chutneys and processed herbs made from our own produce.