Economic Development rolls out provincial youth fund
GROCOTTS / 06 AUGUST 2019 - 16.37 / STAFF REPORTER
The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) is calling for applications from Youth Owned Enterprises (YoEs) and youth entrepreneurs across the province as it sets the fund rollout programme in motion. The applications for the much anticipated Eastern Cape Isiqalo Youth Programme (EC-IYP) are open from the 1 August 2019 onwards.
DEDEAT has set aside R50 million allocated in 2019/20 to fund YoEs, having National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) as the implementing party.
The innovative Isiqalo is marked by significantly less stringent qualifying criteria and covers a wide range of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial levels including idea generation and survivalist/s, start-ups or early development and those in the growth and expansion stage. The sectors of focus include manufacturing, tourism, agro industry, sustainable energy, oceans economy, auto sector, agriculture, arts and creative industry, craft and textiles, ICT and services. “We have relaxed the qualifying criteria for this facility to bear minimum, primarily because we don’t want young people to struggle to access the very fund we have set aside for them,” said Bongani Gxilishe, the DEDEAT Head of Department.
The criteria for the fund include the following: that the young people are between the ages of 18 and 35 years; have skills or potential skills appropriate for the enterprise they conduct or intend to conduct business in; operate within the borders of the Eastern Cape and are adequately involved in the day-to-day operation and management of the business with at least one or more of the members being full-time in the business among others.
Through this facility, the young persons or their businesses can receive up to R3 million in funding for enterprise development purposes.
“This fund will therefore seek to create a conducive environment for youth entrepreneurs through provision of tailor-made non-financial and financial support services. It will also seek to support the creation of youth owned enterprises that are active in target sectors. The youth fund is government’s direct response to the province’s economic challenges that affect young people the most. These include low to no economic growth and lack of skills with concomitant high levels of unemployment and poverty especially among the youth,” said Gxlilishe.
The EC-IYP is part of government efforts to grow the economy of the province, tackle unemployment and poverty particularly among the young people, a group with significantly high unemployment rate compared to the total labour force. It is part of the R1.1 billion set aside (Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund) over the MTEF to stimulate the provincial economy with R339.4 million allocated in 2019/20. The stimulus fund is not just important but an urgent intervention especially in the context of the recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) results which affirm the Eastern Cape as the province with the highest unemployment rate in the country even though this has dropped in quarter 1 from 37.4% to 35.4% in quarter 2.
Guided by a vision of an Eastern Cape where economic growth and sound environmental management underpin sustainable development, DEDEAT’s mandate is to lead economic development and environmental management in the province.
For more details regarding the fund, contact Mandisa Ngwenze at 087 158 7744 (NYDA) and DEDEAT Economic Development Regional Managers:
OR Tambo Ntomboxolo Boni – 047 531 1191
Sarah Baartman Mlungiseleli Kosi – 041 508 5848
Amathole Fundiswa Gidi – 043 707 4000
Alfred Nzo Solomon Nolunguza – 039 256 0229
Chris Hani Nokubonga Mayeki – 045 808 4056
Joe Gqabi Mativenga Ngatiane – 051 633 2901
Applicants can also email DEDEAT at email@example.com
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER