KZN awards R71 million to promising youth-owned businesses

KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala

DURBAN, October 3 (ANA) - The KwaZulu-Natal government on Thursday awarded just over R70 million to those chosen for the KZN Youth Business Development Fund.

The fund - launched in January - would enable the province’s youth to become job creators instead of job seekers, it was announced at the time.

Speaking in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, provincial Premier Sihle Zikalala said recipients were chosen following a “lengthy, rigorous process of examining business proposals” that had the greatest potential for success.

“The total number applications that were received and processed was 2 246. Of these, 448 were shortlisted for due diligence, and 55 were ultimately awarded grants totalling R71 401 486,14. This means that we have exceeded our limit by near one and a half million rand.” 

But, said Zikalala, the money would not be deposited into the accounts of recipients. Instead, the funds would be used for “equipment and instruments” to be used in the productive running of the businesses.

“In this regard, some of the youth businesses that did not succeed, while showing a potential, will be placed in a business development programme wherein gaps and shortcomings identified will be addressed, with the hope that they will benefit in future,” said Zikalala.

He said that even though funding was limited to R70 million, there was an “overwhelming need” amongst the businesses. 

“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 capitalised to R70 million by our government.”

As for South Africa, said Zikalala, the 2017/18 Global Enterprise Monitor (GEM) report indicated that the country’s entrepreneurial activity was at its highest since 2013.

-African News Agency (ANA)

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