The efforts by the provincial government to empower young people aiming for a career in business and entrepreneurship received a resounding applause from various quarters on Thursday.
This was after the KwaZulu-Natal Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala launched a first of its kind R50 million KZN Youth Fund geared towards and billed as a long-lasting solution for youth entrepreneurs who do not qualify for bank loans as they do not have credit history and collateral.
Scores of eager young people mingled with government officials and captains of industry at Public Works, in Mayville on Thursday to hear Mr Zikalala announce government’s major strides that will change their lives for the better.
Zikalala said the launch of that magnitude marked a great milestone in the advancement of the course of youth economic emancipation.
“The launch of the KZN Youth Business Development Fund is a seed which we hope will geminate resulting into meaningful youth participation in the mainstream economy of the country,” he said.
Explaining the genesis of the fund, Mr Zikalala when the Premier, Honourable Willies Mchunu announced the creation of the establishment of this, some characterised it as sheer statement which was impossible to achieve but that the establishment has defied the odds, challenged the prophets of doom and it became an affirmation of this ANC Led KZN Government to the attainment of youth economic freedom.
“In August 2014, the provincial government convened a Youth Summit to distil challenges facing the youth and develop a comprehensive response. The Summit resulted in the adoption of a comprehensive KZN Integrated Youth Development Strategy. We convened this summit because our vision as the provincial government is for all young people to grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient.
Mr Zikalala implored the guests to work together to implement youth empowerment initiatives that will help build a robust and enduring productive capacity of young people throughout the corners of this province.
“This Youth Fund is a step in the right direction and forms the basis of further partnership,” he said. Explaining the fund, the Leader of Government Business said it would ensure continuous support of start-up firms to minimize the liability of newness. He said the fund will finance assets as required by a viable existing enterprise to conduct its operations successfully.
“We must hasten to point out that the finance assets will remain the property of the KZN Government and only transferable to another youth entity if the initially financed entity fails to continue operating within the first three (3) years,” said the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
Mr Zikalala said the government has undertaken to ensure the support for youth entrepreneurs from the captains of industry attached to the KZN Growth Coalition, KZN Economic Council and chambers of commerce across the province.
He also pledged the professional management of the fund to ensure that it operates as a professional financial services body.
ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT