R2.7-billion youth fund launched

R2.7-billion youth fund launched

R2.7-billion youth fund launchedThe Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and small enterprise finance agency (sefa) have partnered to provide funding and support to youth-owned businesses.

The three institutions launched a R2.7-billion partnership in 2013 following the signing last year of the Youth Employment Accord, committing the government and its social partners to prioritising youth employment and skills development.

The launch in the Western Cape will provide an opportunity for aspiring young entrepreneurs to engage the three partners on how to access funding.

IDC chief executive Geoffrey Qhena says the corporation has set aside R1-billion at prime less 3% to fund youth-owned businesses that will create jobs.

“This partnership is a clear and firm commitment from the three entities to support young business entrepreneurs so that they can play a critical role in tackling unemployment challenges in South Africa,” says Qhena.

Countrywide campaign

Since the launch of the partnership, roadshows have been held in the Free State, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo provinces.

The fund has assisted a number of businesses, providing finance, business support and other services offered by the three partner institutions.

The NYDA will act as a catalyst for developing youth entrepreneurship, making youth active participants in growing the local economy.

“We will provide pre-investment business support to qualifying clients in the form of grants, mentorship, and access to our voucher programme and market linkages. Those who qualify will be referred to sefa and IDC for funding,” says NYDA chief executive Khathu Ramukumba.

Sefa chief executive Thakhani Makhuvha says the organisation has allocated R1.7 billion towards youth-owned enterprises over the next 5 years.

“Young people have the opportunity to access loan finance with support from our institution for start-up up and expansionary businesses. We encourage youth to own and manage sustainable enterprises particularly in productive sectors of our economy that have potential for growth and job creation,” says Makhuvha.

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