R2.7-billion youth fund launched

18 August 2014

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) have launched a R2.7-billion Youth Fund aimed at creating millions of sustainable jobs.

The three agencies joined to launch the fund following the signing of the Youth Employment Accord of April last year, where government and its social partners made a commitment to prioritise youth employment and skills development.

The Youth Employment Accord is one in a series of social pacts intended to help achieve the New Growth Path goal of five million new jobs by 2020.

Sefa has set aside R1.7-billion for the fund, with IDC contributing the remaining R1-billion. 

Khathutshelo Ramukumba, the CEO of the NYDA, said the NYDA would screen and recommend young entrepreneurs offered by IDC and Sefa.

“We want more young people to enter the space of manufacturing because we want these young people to be industrialists of tomorrow.

Sefa CEO Thakhani Makhuvha invited young people to apply for finance. He said unlike commercial banks, the agency was a developmental institution that does not require collateral to grant an applicant finance.

It offers funding of between R500 to R5-million to proposals that can demonstrate a sustainable business model.
Makhuvha said Sefa aims to achieve similar results to Brazil’s successful business agency Sebrae, adding that his agency will aim for at least 56% to 61% jobs to be created by small businesses.

Recently, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the National Development Plan envisaged that 95% of all jobs will come from small and medium enterprises by the year 2030. 

She said the R1.7-billion was meant to support entrepreneurs under the age of 35. She said a further R6.5-billion was available over the next five years for those who were 35 and older.
By Amukelani Chauke

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