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New strategy gives youth-owned businesses a boost

Written by Noluthando Mkhize

Youth matters

Businesses owned and managed by the youth stand to benefit from a new government strategy designed to boost youth par ticipation in the economy.

The Youth Enterprise Development Strategy 2013-2023 was unveiled recently by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

With over 7.5 million young people between the ages of 14 and 35 unemployed and not attending any learning institution, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has developed the strategy to deal with the problem.

It is designed to strengthen businesses operated by the youth by developing their skills and helping them to grow.

Minister Davies said South Africa has been in dire need of a youth-specific employment strategy that would effectively address the high levels of unemployment.

Government has realised that it needs a package of measures that would create more employment opportunities for the youth, he added.

The dti also took note of the challenges young people faced when entering the economic sector and through the strategy, will introduce 10 programmes to address these.

The Youth Enterprise Development Strategy (YEDS) aims to promote youth self-employment and youth-owned and managed enterprises, ensuring that young people actively participate in strengthening and growing the economy.

Minister Davies said the YEDS is government’s response to a call made by the New Growth Path (NGP) for the state to provide bold, imaginative and effective strategies to create millions of new jobs that would address youth unemployment and the limited participation of young people in the economy.

“What we have learned is that two-thirds of our youth entrepreneurs are self-taught and are informal. For our strategy to be effective we need youth targets set aside in priority sectors and what is important is for us to strengthen the capabilities of these informal businesses.

“As a response, the dti has set itself the target of increasing the percentage of youth managed start-up businesses from 5 per cent to 50 per cent,” he added.