KZN government forges ahead with supporting youth owned businesses

Friday, May 26, 2023

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has reaffirmed the provincial government's commitment to forge ahead with the roll-out of the R100 million Youth Empowerment Fund, aimed at supporting youth owned businesses and creating successful young entrepreneurs.

Dube-Ncube said the youth fund is making a huge impact in levelling the economic playing field, as it seeks to end the economic exclusion and marginalisation of black youth in the mainstream economy, while sustaining jobs and ensuring reliable sources of income for the youth.

She said the province is determined to make young people job creators, as opposed to only job seekers.

“We have demonstrated this in practice through earlier funding allocations and support to youth enterprises which have now entered the business market and is creating jobs. There is a proper monitoring and evaluation process in place to ensure that the funding allocation is indeed benefiting young entrepreneurs,” Dube-Ncube said.

The Premier highlighted that, since its launch, a total of 53 youth enterprises have benefitted from the Youth Empowerment Fund, and have created close to 500 jobs employing other young people with some landing contracts outside the borders of the province and the country, while growing the economy in the process.

An investment team, which operates under the supervision of the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Fund Trust (KZNGF), is responsible for screening all applications.

The team is appointed by the Director-General in the Office of the Premier, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize.

The Premier said the criteria used by the investment team stipulates that commercial viability is a “crucial requirement for the funding of any business.”

In order to qualify for the youth fund programme, Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs), and its shareholders/members must:

  • Have a profit motive;
  • Have its principle place of business operations in the KZN Province, or where the KZN Youth Fund grant is being applied in KZN most of the revenue must be generated in KZN, which excludes goods for export;
  • Be incorporated either as a limited liability company, close corporation, co-operative, partnership, or an incorporated company;
  • Have a minimum of 51% of its issued ordinary shares owned by African youth who are KwaZulu-Natal citizens by jurisdiction or white disadvantaged youth as defined;
  • Employ at least one KZN African black youth/woman shareholder on a full-time basis;
  • The owners must demonstrate their commitment to the business in the form of time (operational involvement), assets and/or cash, the extent of which will be determined on a case-by-case basis;
  • The majority shareholder(s) must be between the ages of 18 and 35;
  • Be an existing business owner;
  • Require funding between R50 000 and R2 000 000; and
  • Must have the relevant management experience and expertise with the ability to manage the business or must be willing to go through a development programme geared for this purpose.


“In building this future, the upliftment of the youth is paramount, as evidenced by the increased investment in the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Empowerment Fund which now will move from R50 million to R100 million.

“Last year, the Youth Development Fund spent R90 million in support of business mostly owned by the youth involved in every sector of our economy. For the 2023/24 financial year, R100 million is repurposed for youth development to benefit more youth in sectors and businesses that employ more people,” the Premier said.

Dube-Ncube is expected to soon announce the Youth Empowerment Fund beneficiaries who were selected after a rigorous process. –