First of its kind, the KZN Youth Fund follows a comprehensive research by Youth Directorates of both the Premier’s Office and KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, that identified a huge gap in youth business financial aid. The fund aims to assist deserving young people to kick-start their business ventures, fund new innovative business ideas and to expand young people’s existing businesses without the red tape associated with the traditional ways of accessing funding. The youth fund will bridge this gap by expediting the funding process especially to those businesses in the rural areas. The fund also received the nod from the provincial Cabinet after passing through stringent scrutiny.
Although this cash injection of R50 million was not substantial, it would also assist youth in rural areas. It will ensure sustainability of new businesses during their critical start-up phase. The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs has undertaken to ensure that this support for youth entrepreneurs comes from the captains of industry attached to the KZN Growth Coalition, KZN Economic Council and chambers of commerce across the province.
A number of youth-orientated business developments were hampered by a lack of entrepreneurial skills. With this funding, young people will also have access to mentors who will guide them on their journey for two years. The fund is set to also be for franchises owned by the youth as the franchise sectors in many developed countries had been lauded as the most suitable strategy to develop entrepreneurship among the youth, allowing them to learn and grow within a tried and tested environment. The current youth generation has proclaimed their course as the realisation of economic freedom in their lifetime. Being conscious of this call and the reality that the majority of the youth linger in streets with no jobs, to access to business opportunities, the government could not ignore its inherent role of addressing this plight. The fund would ensure continuous support of start-up firms.
The government must hasten to point out that the financial assets will remain the property of the KZN government and will only be transferable to another youth entity if the initially financed entity fails to continue operating within the first three years.
Kwazi Mshengu, chairperson of the ANC Youth League in KZN said, “Youth development was not only the business of government; other social partners had to join in.” Musa Makhunga, the president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce, urged potential beneficiaries to come on board saying that the funding was just one of the many critical success factors of any business. “A five-point factor scale funding only makes up about 24% of what you need to be successful. This initiative is providing you with that, but be aware that more is required than just the funding,” Makhunga said.
At DTC we understand the complexities of the various funding agencies and the unique application criteria for each. We have assisted thousands of entrepreneurs through the application process to access funding for businesses, and we can assist you with the same.
Contact us for more information on funding through the KZN Youth Fund.