Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has called on the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to support at least 15 000 start-ups by 2024.

“We must now support young people who are in businesses that we call ‘high-risk businesses’ such as the technology innovation, digital businesses and other avenues, where young people are moving barriers with little support because our support tends to be risk averse,” Ntshavheni said.

Addressing a webinar on Tuesday, the Minister said government needs to be bold in its support for start-ups to take more risks and allow people to experiment.

“By 2024 we should no longer be referring to a high unemployment rate of young people in this country.  We should be reporting back about the high economic participation of young people in the economy of this country

“We have a responsibility to train and support job creators because an inclusive economy is an economy where young people are no longer job seekers but job creators,” the Minister said.

Ntshavheni hosted Tuesday’s webinar alongside the NYDA, to provide an update on the commitments made to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs) and cooperatives in the 2020 State of the Nation address (SONA).

NYDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Waseem Carrim said the commitment made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the SONA to support 1000 businesses, has been met through the 1 000 businesses in the 100 days programme.

“In the programme we supported 58% female participants and 42% male participants across all nine provinces,” Carrim said.

The initiative was intended to provide financial support to micro enterprises particularly in townships and rural areas, provide government services in an effective and efficient manner, and allow young people to capitalise on opportunities in their local economies.

“This is the first steps in the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, the most comprehensive plan in South Africa’s democratic history to address youth unemployment. The initiative is aimed at reaching vulnerable and marginalised young people,” Carrim said.

Sectors that were supported in this programme include the following sectors: agriculture and agro processing (138); arts, education, health (18); automotive and manufacturing (142); construction and property (34); consulting and legal (10); hospitality (44); information, communication and technology (37); installation, maintenance and repair (20); logistics, tourism and recycling and waste (12); services (430); textiles (10); wholesale and retail (105).

“The programme was affected by COVID-19. We lost two calendar months during the hard lockdown but we were able to fulfil the commitments made by the President during SONA,” he said.

Data free platform

The NYDA, working together with the Department of Employment and Labour and the Presidency as well as other government departments and civil society, have developed a platform called SA Youth, which can be used to access different opportunities.

SA is a data free platform that is zero rated by all the telecommunications service providers.

“The platform represents a single entry point for every young person into the economy, whether they are seeking labour market opportunities, entrepreneurship or to volunteer.

“We want to encourage young people to create a profile on the platform to access the opportunities that are available on that platform,” Carrim said.

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