TechInAfrica – On last Thursday, October 3rd, the KwaZulu-Natal government awarded more than R70 million to young entrepreneurs who were selected for the KZN Youth Business Development Fund. The Fund was launched in January this year, aiming at supporting the province’s young entrepreneurs that have created job opportunities.
According to the Provincial Premier, Sihle Zikalala who spoke in Pietermaritzburg, the young entrepreneurs were selected after following a long process of examining business proposals with the highest potential for growth.
“The total number of applications that were received and processed was 2,246. Of these, 448 were shortlisted for due diligence, and 55 were ultimately awarded grants totaling R71,401,486.14. This means that we have exceeded our limit by near one and a half million rand.”
Zikalala added that the fund will not be given in cash but in equipment and instruments to help running their businesses.
“In this regard, some of the youth businesses that did not succeed, while showing potential, will be placed in a business development program wherein gaps and shortcomings identified will be addressed and hopeful they will benefit in future,” said Zikalala.
Speaking about those who hadn’t gotten the opportunity to receive the fund, Zikalala said: “As government, we are encouraged to see the youth of KZN making strides to own their own businesses, and we encourage those who did not make it and many more others to apply for the second phase of the funding, which as was announced in the State of the Province Address, has also been capitalized to R70 million by our government.”
Zikalala emphasized in many developing countries, the Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises were creating employment, proven by research conducted in these countries.
“The 2019 SME and Entrepreneurship Outlook report on OECD countries revealed that SMEs account for about 60% of employment and between 50% and 60% of value-added, and are the main drivers of productivity in many regions and cities.”
Zikalala mentioned that according to the 2017/2018 Global Enterprise Monitor (GEM) report, the highest entrepreneurial activity in South Africa started in 2013.
“I have no doubt that this came as a result of the dedicated focus introduced through the policy of radical economic transformation (RET). Today is yet another testimonial that RET is not stealing from others or disruption of other businesses, but is dedicated support to small entrepreneurship,” Zikalala concluded.