In response to the challenges faced by young entrepreneurs and recognising the limitations of government resources, a collaborative effort has emerged as a viable solution. The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has joined forces with the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), known as ‘Moswa Kgwebong,’ to introduce the R60 million Youth Enterprise Fund in Gauteng, designed to empower and uplift youth-owned businesses.
This significant initiative, officially launched on September 6th at the NYDA offices in Midrand, aligns with the Integrated Youth Development Strategy. The strategy’s overarching goals include fostering economic transformation, promoting entrepreneurship, and driving job creation, all crucial components of South Africa’s growth and development.
Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) are acknowledged as the pillars of the South African economy, with a substantial impact on employment and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In recognition of this, the NYDA and GEP are determined to enhance their support for youth-owned businesses in Gauteng province.
Nosipho Khonkwane, the GEP’s General Manager for Corporate Support and Administration, explained that the concept for the fund emerged in 2021 and was initially piloted in 2022. The collaboration between the two entities, with the aim of expanding the youth fund, began in the third quarter of the preceding year and was formally cemented this year.
The Youth Enterprise Fund offers diverse resources, allowing young entrepreneurs to access blended financing of up to R1 million. Khonkwane clarified that both parties have committed equal contributions to establish the R60 million fund. The fund’s primary objectives encompass economic participation, job creation, enhanced access to finance for youth-owned businesses in Gauteng province, and providing loans of up to R1 million.
The fund’s unique structure blends grant and loan components, with a 50% grant and 50% loan ratio to ensure affordability for young entrepreneurs. The NYDA will be responsible for the grant portion, while the GEP will oversee the loan component. Over three years, both institutions have pledged to contribute R30 million to support this vital partnership jointly.
To qualify for the fund, businesses must meet specific criteria, including being South African-owned, with at least 51% ownership by disadvantaged individuals, youth ownership falling within the 18-35 age range, and being located within Gauteng province.
NYDA CEO Waseem Carrim underscored the significance of Gauteng as an economic hub, attracting numerous young individuals in pursuit of diverse opportunities. Recognising the multifaceted needs of young entrepreneurs, Carrim emphasised that access to funding remains a critical gap in South Africa, making this initiative a substantial step toward addressing this challenge.
For aspiring business owners seeking this transformative opportunity, the GEP website offers an online application process, enabling them to complete the necessary forms and embark on their journey toward entrepreneurial success.
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Photo: Supplied by the Midrand Reporter