Entries for the Inkunzi’isematholeni Youth in Business competition are officially open and youth aged between 18 and 35 living in rural and urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal are invited to enter.
Inkunzi’isematholeni Youth in Business is an annual competition run by Ithala Development Finance Corporation to promote entrepreneurship and skills development among the youth in KwaZulu-Natal.
The competition aims to recognise young people with innovative and sustainable business concepts.
The programme empowers aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their creative concepts into fully operational businesses by providing start-up capital and the necessary business support to help them launch, manage and run their businesses successfully.
The flagship campaign was launched by Ithala in 2014 in an effort to tackle unemployment by encouraging youth to consider self-employment as a job option.
Unemployment among the youth aged 15 to 24 was recently reported by the World Bank’s South Africa economic update to be almost 50 percent double the national rate.
“Against a backdrop of overwhelming unemployment among our youth, this programme aims to make a small but tangible contribution to wrench young entrepreneurs from the ranks of the unemployed to actually running sustainable enterprises that will contribute to economic growth and job creation,” said Mano Muthusamy, Acting Business Finance Executive at Ithala Development Finance Corporation.
The key focus of the campaign is to drive innovation, specifically within the green economy. It is for this reason that the theme for 2016 is “Think Innovation, Think Green”.
“People often have bright ideas about new or improved products, services or processes. Generating ideas and being innovative is integral to business success. Research has shown that innovation, when properly managed, produces a higher rate of return than other forms of investment,” said Muthusamy.
This year, Ithala is supported by several strategic partners to ensure the initiative is a resounding success.
One such business is Invo Tech a business incubator that assists entrepreneurs to develop their innovative ideas to viable businesses
“We look into businesses that fall under our sectors of operation which include green technology, the digital creative industry, software and mobile application sectors.
“We saw a need to offer our services to the Inkunzi’isematholeni programme to ensure we continually groom young people in business,” said Nons Khanyile, Business Development Manager at Invo Tech.
Anitha Ramsuran, Manager: Innovation Skills Development at the Technology Innovation Agency said: “We are thrilled to partner with Ithala on such a creative initiative for the youth.
The Technology Innovation Agency's mandate is to promote and develop technological innovation in order to improve economic growth.
“Working together with Ithala, we are going to support and guide these young people and help them better their future in business,” said Ramsuran.
Winners of the 2016 competition will each receive business finance assistance of up to R250 000. Depending on the requirements of each business, assistance will include:
- Aftercare programme by the Technology Innovation Agency
- Aftercare programme by Invo Tech
- Business mentorship
- Product development
- Business skills development programmes.
- Patenting of inventions
Source: Ithala Development Finance Corporation