To boost local youth economic participation, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has awarded 55 youth entrepreneurs grants totalling over R70 million.
The grants form part of the first projects of the Provincial Youth Business Development Fund, which was launched in January this year. The fund aims to enable KZN youth to become job creators, instead of job seekers.
Kwazulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala explains the fund is to assist youth entrepreneurs who did not qualify for loans, due to a lack of credit history or collateral.
With youth entrepreneurs invited to submit their respective applications for government support, Zikalala said over 2 000 applications were received. Each application subjected to thorough scrutiny and evaluation, which led to the final selection of the 55 youth beneficiaries.
The final selection of the 55 youth beneficiaries are those who showed a high potential to create employment.
Zikalala explains the provincial government is not funding the operational costs. Instead, they are funding those who want specific equipment or support that will make them work.
Furthermore, Zikalala has thanked ABSA for apparently pledging a further R70 million in loan facilities. This will go towards assisting youth entrepreneurs who require more financial support than what the government has given.
The monies will also not go into the accounts of the recipients.
Rather, the funds will go towards acquiring the necessary equipment and instruments which will be used in the effective operations of the business.
With funding going towards the 55 entrepreneurs, Zikalala explains research has shown that in many developing countries, it was Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises that were creating employment.
He elaborates by explaining that the 2019 SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook report on OECD countries, revealed that SMEs account for about 60% of employment and between 50% and 60% of value-added, and are the main drivers of productivity in many regions and cities.
With the government investing in youth-based businesses, what are your thoughts on the provincial government funding developing businesses? Share your views and opinions with us in the comment section below.