JOHANNESBURG, - The city of Johannesburg said on Tuesday it had partnered with health and financial services provider Discovery to open a skills development centre in Orange Farm which will benefit youth in the area.

The township has battled with high youth unemployment and increasing substance abuse and the joint initiative will aim to tackle these, as well as crime.

The city's member of the mayoral council for social development Mpho Phalatse said the centre would assist ambitious youth to start their businesses through the LEAN start-up program.

“Lean is an incubation methodology that revolves around an initial business idea, which consequently gets developed into a prototype, this prototype gets tested by customers and through the feedback of the customers the product gets refined,” Phalatse said.

The centre will provide aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with training and a platform to enhance creativity, efficiency and growth, prioritsing the development of young women in Orange Farm.

It will support and mentor 100 small enterprises, and on Tuesday the first group of 20 young entrepreneurs were officially introduced.

The centre will offer training in business and finance, new venture creation, how to operate a small, medium and micro-sized enterprise (SMME), mathematics and bookkeeping.

Youth and black-owned businesses will get access to clients through the council's procurement department and entrepreneurs with solid ideas will get access to grass roots capital, in the form of interest free microloans, to kick-start their businesses.

- African News Agency (ANA)