Sep 2020 2nd edition

SEDA trains youth to become business owners

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) has empowered another 17 unemployed young people, who are ready to go out into the world and start their own businesses. 

The 17 youths from disadvantaged areas around Cape Town including Phillipi, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Mitchell’s Plain, recently completed SEDA training. The training was delivered by Furntech, a SEDA partner which helps to develop skills and support businesses in the sector of furniture-making. 

One of the graduates is Samkelo Nkawu from Phillipi. Nkawu (25) had been struggling to find a job until he saw the opportunity to get involved with the Furntech programme. 

“I applied and was happy to be selected as I do not have any qualifications,” says Nkawu. 

He explained that the programme included various subjects, including theory, workplace safety, and practical skills needed for furniture-making. 

“When we started the programme, I had no knowledge of furniture making. Now I am happy that I can assemble a cabinet. We were introduced to health and safety regulations in a work area so that we can be aware of any possible dangers in the workplace. We spent another two weeks conducting theory and learning about the tools necessary to do the work required.”

SEDA will now encourage the graduates to go about starting their own businesses, with support from the agency’s business development unit. 

“SEDA has encouraged us to start our own businesses, and they will provide coaching and business development support. I hope to be able to start my own small business making and selling furniture.”

James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities at the City of Cape Town, said that SEDA, which has branches around the country, provides great opportunities for the youth to learn new skills and access work opportunities. 

“Skills are essential for economic growth and the City is committed to growing Cape Town’s economy by providing a steady skills pipeline. The City has a long–standing partnership with SEDA, which enables us to better assist businesses and link them to the various branch offices across the City, providing easier access.”

Vos added that it is especially important to focus on youth development at this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“As we start to recover from the impact of the lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the officials in the Enterprise and Investment Department, I will continue to work hard to ensure that our economy and businesses have access to skilled people, thereby ensuring that we can get back to work and build a stronger, diverse and inclusive economy.”

Furntech has trained almost 7 000 learners since it was established, creating 2000 direct and indirect jobs in the furniture industry. 

*For more information about getting support through SEDA, call the National Information Centre toll-free on 0860 663 7867.

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