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Fund to benefit youth in North West

Written by Albert Pule
A three-way partnership between entities of government is set to benefit youth -owned businesses in the North West Province.

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) have launched a fund for youth-owned businesses in the North West. Seen here from left are NYDA CEO Khathu Ramukumba, Geoffrey Qhena CEO of IDC, and SEFA CEO Thakhani Makhuvha at the launch of the partnership.The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) have teamed up to fund to youth-owned businesses.

The launch of the youth fund follows the signing of the Youth Accord in 2013 between government and its social partners.

NYDA Chief Executive Officer Khathu Ramukumba says the fund will help young entrepreneurs start their businesses and help government to fight the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

“Often young aspiring entrepreneurs are rendered ineligible for finance due to their financial backgrounds coupled with stringent funding criteria and we hope that this funding will help them to achieve their dreams of starting their own businesses,” says Ramukumba.

IDC Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Qhena urged the young people of the North West to become agents of change in their communities by taking advantage of the services and the funds made available by the three entities.

“For us to achieve our mandate, we need you as entrepreneurs to come on board by developing sustainable businesses because if they are sustainable, the jobs they create will also be sustainable.

“This is an opportunity to partner with us because we want to give you this opportunity to create employment for the betterment of this country,” he said.

In 2012, SEFA, a 100% IDC-owned agency, was set up to help small businesses and co-operatives seeking funding of up to R5 million.

”Our partnership with IDC and NYDA is a catalyst for the development of viable youth entrepreneurship. Through this collaboration we continuously seek to assist and to empower the youth by giving them business support and access to finance.

“We further encourage young entrepreneurs to venture into the productive sectors of the economy,” says SEFA chief executive Thakhani Makhuvha.

Young entrepreneur and owner of Curve Behind Trading, Lebogang Masilo from Mogwase, says the partnership between the three agencies will be useful.

“I think this partnership will be helpful especially to us as young entrepreneurs because sometimes we struggle with funding and drawing up a business plan.”

Masilo started and registered his construction company in 2010 after attending various short courses in business management offered by the NYDA.

Director of Operations at Ecolution Nkosana Mtimkulu, a 100% youth-owned company producing charcoal, says he hopes to get funding and increase his business because at times demand exceeds supply.

Regional Manager of the IDC in the North West David McGluva said the partnership between the three entities would have a positive impact.

“If you pull together in one direction, there is a greater chance of you making a bigger impact.” The NYDA will screen and recommend young entrepreneurs to access funding offered by the IDC and SEFA.