The National Youth Development Agency’s (NYDA) funding and support interventions work to improve the lives of South Africa’s massive youth population. Youth currently make up about 34,7% or 20,66 million of the 59,62 million South African population – this number is projected to reach about 62 million by 2023 and grow to 66 million by 2025. The NYDA is tasked with encouraging this fast growing segment to actively participate in the economy through the creation of jobs, skills development and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The role of the NYDA has come into greater focus as more young people look to start businesses as a way out of unemployment and poverty. Of particular interest is the NYDA’s various funding interventions that help to address high youth unemployment and low levels of youth entrepreneurship.
Youth unemployment and entrepreneurship
The youth statistics paint a somewhat dire picture. Youth continues to bear the brunt of unemployment with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounting for 66.5% of the country’s unemployment. This is higher than any other segment of the population.
And while youth entrepreneurship is touted as the solution to the country’s high youth unemployment rate, business ownership among young people is however worryingly low. Additionally, South Africa’s youth entrepreneurship propensity, which measures the likelihood to start businesses, is the lowest in Africa, according to the 2014-2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report.
Some of the barriers to entrepreneurship that have been identified by the report range from limited access to youth business funding opportunities, a lack of specific business skills. Moreover, young people often have less experience in leadership and management, all which contribute to the high startup failure.
The NYDA works to remove the barriers that young people face through its various programmes.
The NYDA was established primarily to address challenges faced by the nation’s youth and to unlock the full economic participation of youth.
The agency’s full mandate, as outlined by the NYDA Act, is as follows:
The agency supports three broad categories of young people that include:
These categories of young people are supported by the NYDA through the implementation of the following programmes:
The NYDA Grant Programme is the agency’s best known intervention. It has over its existence provided over a thousand youth-owned enterprises in the township and rural economy with support, training, mentorship, funding and education.
Grant eligibility requirements:
The three categories of people who may apply for NYDA funding and support – individual entrepreneurs, individual business owners and members of cooperatives
Other requirements include:
The following exceptions exist to access NYDA funding: your businesses may not have an annual turnover exceeding R750,000 (except for cooperatives whose annual turnover must not exceed R1000,000).
Furthermore, an individual or business shall not receive a cumulative grant amount above R200 000 from NYDA during their lifetime except for cooperatives (for agriculture and technology related projects the maximum cumulative value is R250,000).
The NYDA supports enterprises across all sectors, from agro-processing to retail. Some of the most common types of businesses supported by the NYDA are – street vendors, small-scale recycling, cleaning services, hair salons, car washes, repair services, plumbers and motor mechanics.
The NYDA grant can be used to cover startup costs, and also any of the following activities:
The NYDA does not fund businesses that require any of the following:
Funding for individuals or enterprises ranges from R2,000 to R200 000 (for agriculture and technology related projects the maximum funding value is R250,000.00).
Below are the different levels of grants:
Idea generation and survivalist
Grant: R1,000 – R10,000
Startups PTY and cooperatives
Grant: R10,001 – R50,000
Growth stage PTY and cooperatives
Grant: R50,001 – R100,000
Expansion stage PTY and cooperatives
Grant: R100,001 – R200,000
Young people whose business ideas qualify for the Grant Programme, depending on their individual needs, will also receive some of the NYDA’s non-financial support services that include:
The NYDA’s Volunteer Enterprise Mentorship Programme facilitates the transfer of business skills and knowledge among South African young entrepreneurs with the goal of increasing the sustainability and growth chances of youth businesses.
Young entrepreneurs are matched with mentors who support them to increase the growth of their startup or existing businesses.
How to apply for Mentorship
Mentee application is accessible on the NYDA Portal.
The Business Management Training courses are designed to support young entrepreneurs in all stages of the businesses – pre-start, survivalist, startup, early development and growth and expansion. Through the programmes young entrepreneurs gain to access relevant entrepreneurship skills and knowledge for their businesses.
These training courses are offered as a 3-6 day training course depending on the specific needs of the young person and the level of the business. They are :
Who is eligible for Business Management Training?
The Voucher Programme is a business support programme that helps young entrepreneurs to access quality business development services through NYDA approved business consultancy service providers thereby enhancing their participation in the mainstream economy.
Participants receive one-on-one business development support, between the values of R6 600 and R19 800, from an NYDA-accredited service provider.
The vouchers can be used to purchase business support services from approved service providers, including, but not limited to:
Who is eligible for a voucher?
Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 35, be a South African citizen or a permanent resident and must be willing to attend entrepreneurship development training if they do not have an entrepreneurial or business management background and or qualification.
All members of the business entity must be between the ages of 18 to 35 and the business must be 100 percent youth-owned and operate within the borders of South Africa.
How to apply for a voucher
The programme works together with the NYDA’s other interventions, including the grant, voucher and volunteer enterprise mentorship programmes.
Any young person between the ages of 18 and 35, who has a registered business and is a beneficiary of the NYDA, automatically qualifies for this opportunity. The programme links startups with businesses in their market to increase business opportunities and improve access to market for youth-owned businesses.
More support resources for youth-owned enterprises:
Similar to youth-owned businesses, cooperatives are looked to as a solution to youth unemployment. In addition to creating jobs cooperatives benefit young people in the following ways:
“They bridge the economic divide, promote an inclusive local economy, and remain viable means of alleviating poverty by creating employment opportunities.
“Resulting in local resilience, spending, democratic accountability, and much needed active participation of community members towards sustainable livelihoods.”
Because of the important role cooperatives play, the NYDA also offers support to youth-owned cooperatives with compliance regulations, in-depth training and market access, as well as funding.
In addition to registration of co-operatives, the NYDA assists aspiring and established co-operatives with the following business support programmes and services:
Requirements for youth-owned cooperatives:
See also: Guide to Cooperatives in South Africa
If you meet the eligibility requirements the application process for the NYDA funding grant includes: