KZN Youth Fund applications to be released soon

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has announced that the second round of applications for the KZN Youth Fund will be released on 01 July 2021, and run for 30 days.

Zikalala made the announcement during a virtual breakfast engagement with the first group of the recipients of the fund held on Tuesday.

The meeting gave the recipients an opportunity to share directly with the provincial government on both the successes and the challenges they are facing, as they implement their projects, and also network with other entrepreneurs who are in the programme.

Led by the Office of the Premier, the KZN Youth Fund serves as a catalytic funding to business ventures created and owned by young people across the length and breadth of the province. It is also aligned to the Provincial Youth Economic Empowerment Strategy.

Speaking at the meeting, Zikalala highlighted that in 2019, the provincial government began implementing the first tranche of KZN Youth Fund which saw 53 youth enterprises benefiting from the fund and contributing to about 408 jobs.

The disbursement to youth enterprises commenced in January 2020, with a total approval of R69 million.

“Some disbursements were interrupted by lockdown and picked up after the ease of the lockdown. We have learned that some business managed to strive during this pandemic while others are still struggling to recover, [and] today’s engagement should give us a better picture on the additional support that is required to rescue these businesses and to strengthen those that are doing well,” Zikalala said.

The Premier reiterated that the resources that have been invested to the recipients, belong to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, and they must work together to ensure that there is a return on investments on the scarce resources that the people of KwaZulu-Natal have entrusted them with.

As government, he said they are unambiguous that the path to support black youth owned enterprises is the correct one.

“Our faith in the youth is unshakable. Our belief that SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises) are catalyst for economic growth and job creation is informed by evidence from successful economies across the globe. In this regard, we continue to have faith in all of you that with your success, you will make your families and the people of our province truly proud.

“From the reports that we are receiving, it is clear that we need to strengthen the aftercare support. It is clear that as government departments, we need to be better coordinated to offer the kind of support that you need. Our government also needs to improve synergies and collaborate better to enable you to access markets, including procurement from the state where necessary and where appropriate,” the Premier said.

Turn problems into solutions

He also emphasised that while many are consumed by negativity, doom and gloom, it is important that the recipients, as entrepreneurs should turn problems into solutions and make profit out of them.

“It is in the nature of successful entrepreneurs to always translate odds and misfortunes into fortunes and opportunities. Please read as much as possible on the many successful entrepreneurs that Africa and the world has produced and be inspired by them. Many of them, you will realise, were able to beat the odds without much or any support from the state or their governments,” the Premier said.

The youth enterprises are visited on a quarterly basis in order to provide aftercare support, check on enterprise progress, and provide additional support where necessary.

Legislature oversight committees also perform an oversight on youth enterprises on quarterly basis accompanied by Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Department, and Office of the Premier staff.

The second round of applications for the fund will be released in local newspapers and KZN Government social media pages.

Applications are to be collected and dropped at the EDTEA district offices in the province, and will also be available online. –

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