Entrepreneurial opportunities for SA youth

by | Jun 17, 2021 | Personal Finance

The greatest challenge currently  facing our youth, is unemployment. Data  by Stats South Africa at the start of June 2021 shows that the official unemployment rate among youth (15-34 years) was 46.3% in the first quarter of this year. Whilst many are encouraged to follow the ‘entrepreneurial path” – that really is easier said than done.

According to national government, entrepreneurship is vitally important because it  aids economic growth, economic competitiveness, economic independence, self-esteem, job creation, social welfare of any country, as well as political stability and national security of a country.

Access to start-capital, expansion capital  and lack of business management experience – are all obstacles that young entrepreneurs  face.

Though there are a number of business development programmes aimed specifically at the youth  – many South African’s simply do not seem to be aware of it. Here are some public and private sector entrepreneurial initiatives available to the youth.



Department of Small Business Development

 Youth Start-Up Support Programme (YSSP) – The Youth Start-Up Support Programme (YSSP) – is one of the programmes thorugh which the Department aims to provide financial and non-financial support to SMMEs and co-operatives. During the current financial year, the Department plans to provide financial and non-financial support to 5 000 start-up youth owned businesses.

 Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme –The Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme is aimed at resuscitating township economies. TREP is a programme dedicated to provide support to the township and rural enterprises with an emphasis on enterprises owned and managed by the designated groups including youth

The TREP programmes are Autobody Repairers and Mechanics; Spaza Shops and General Dealer Support Scheme; Bakeries and Confectioneries; Clothing, Textile and Leather Scheme; and Butcheries Support Programme; and Manufacturing

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

 The Black Industrialist Programme the Black Industrialists programme’s objective is to increase meaningful participation of black-owned companies in the mainstream economy in line with the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). Its purpose is to ensure that black people are directly involved in the origination, creation, significant ownership, management and operation of industrial enterprises that derive value from the manufacturing of goods and services at a large scale. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) provide funding to eligible black entrepreneurs, including those who would have had difficulty obtaining funding from commercial banks.

Gro-E Youth SchemeThe IDC’s objective through the Gro-EYouth Scheme is to encourage youth entrepreneurship and employment creation, thereby growing South Africa’s economy. The IDC provides funding at prime less 3% is available in the programme, ranging from R1 million to R50 million. The scheme has been allocated R950-million to provide finance to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects of smaller scale and manufacturing of Green products in South Africa.



South African Breweries (SAB)

  • SAB Kickstart Ignite programme: is aimed at entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 who have a business idea or prototype that can potentially solve a business challenge. There’s also the SAB Kickstart Urban Agri Programme, which is aimed at young crop farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 who are looking to commercialise their operations.  The programme is about “supporting young entrepreneurs to become sustainable entities that can create jobs”. Nine finalists from across the country participate in an 18-month programme offering business skills training, business development support, mentorship, zero interest seed capital loans and grant funding.
  • SAB Foundation Tholana Enterprise Programme:This initiative is aimed at youth in rural areas, as well as at entrepreneurs who have a disability and who show potential and commitment to grow a business and create jobs. The two-year business support programme provides participants with seed-funding and assistance with access to markets


Investec Youth Entrepreneurship Programmes:

  • Startup School – is a practical online entrepreneurship learning programme. It offers entrepreneurs a coach who guides them, expert one-on-one mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, and the opportunity to pitch for prize funding of up to R100 000.
  • Finance Readiness Programme – is an initiative that gives entrepreneurs access to a team of finance professionals who outline a tailored approach to shape and build their businesses. The programme strengthens the businesses’ ability to be investor/investment ready.
  • Access to Markets’ Programme – is a pilot programme that aims to ensure the necessary compliance, business process, due diligence and other criteria that are key to enabling new potential client, supplier and procurement opportunities are implemented and better managed.


Access to information

It is vitally important that out youth have access to information on all things which can better their lives Whether it comes to being informed about money, small business development, their health and safety – access to information is key to empowerment of less privileged sectors of South African society.

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