The department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat) has rolled out the R50 million Isiqalo Youth Fund (IYF) set aside for entrepreneurs in the 2019/20 financial year.
The entrepreneurs can receive up to R3 million worth of funding for enterprise development purposes.
This is part of the R1.1 billion set aside for the provincial economic stimulus fund over the medium term expenditure framework to stimulate the provincial economy.
The funding will be implemented by the National Youth Development Agency.
Chris Hani Youth Business Forum chairman and entrepreneur Lucky Silwana said: “We welcome the fund from the office of premier Oscar Mabuyane. We believe it is going to help speed up economic development in the district and liberate small businesses.
Young entrepreneurs often face the challenge of being awarded a tender which they then struggle to get funding for. We believe this initiative will get us past that.”
According to a press statement issued by Dedeat, the financial provision was an urgent intervention to address the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). The QLFS results affirmed that the Eastern Cape had the highest unemployment rate in the country, which dropped from 37.4% in first quarter to 35.4% in the second.
The department stated that the funding had less stringent qualifying criteria and covered a wide range of entrepreneurial levels including idea generation, survivalists and start-ups. It also catered for growth and expansion business stages.
Manufacturing, tourism, agro-industry, sustainable energy, oceans economy, the auto sector, agriculture, arts and creative industry, craft and textiles, ICT and services are the sectors of focus.
Dedeat head of department, Bongani Gxilishe, said: “We have relaxed the qualifying criteria for this facility to a minimum, because we do not want youth to struggle to access the funding set aside for them.”
The fund caters for youth between the ages of 18 and 35.
The entrepreneurs are required to have skills which are appropriate for the enterprise they are operating or intend to conduct business in. They must be involved in the day-to-day operations and management of the business with at least one or more of the members being full-time. All candidates are required to operate within the borders of the province.
For more inquiries on the funding, contact Chris Hani Dedeat’s Nokubonga Mayeki on 045-808 4056.