July 2022 2nd Edition

Government wants young people to start their own businesses

Written by Neo Bodumela

Various government programmes offer funding and guidance to help young people start or grow their businesses.

State institutions, such as the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), exist to promote small business development.

They shared more about their youth-focused products during the recent Youth in Industries: Enterprise Development Support and Access to Markets webinar hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.


Nomazizi Siphondo, the Investment Associate at the NEF, said the NEF offers low-interest loans to small businesses wanting to expand and to people wanting to start a business. 

“This is to make sure that we are not killing newer businesses before they’ve taken off,” she said.

The NEF also offers business skills training.

For further information, visit www.nefcorp.co.za/funding-solutions/funding-instruments or call 0861 843 633.


The IDC’s Manyatsa Nkutha outlined the funding offered to youth-owned businesses in a wide range of sectors, including mining, agriculture, chemicals, industrial infrastructure, clothing, manufacturing and IT.

The Gro-E Youth scheme provides funding of between R1 million and R50 million to businesses owned by young people, he says. The interest rate is very attractive.

The Small Business Finance Unit funds projects of between R1 and 15 million.

SME Connect helps young people prepare business plans and offers other business support.

For more information, visit www.idc.co.za. Click on ‘funding solutions’ and then ‘special schemes’. Alternatively, call 0860 693 888.


Andrew Bam of SEDA said the agency is committed to letting people know that they do not have to work for a boss, but can instead start their own business. He said SEDA wants to get this idea out to young adults who have finished their education and to those who are still studying.

SEDA’s Centres for Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator models run at technical and vocational education and training colleges around the country, he said. These incubator programmes help students launch their own businesses.

For more information on SEDA’s offerings, go to www.seda.org.za or call 0860 103 703.

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