KZN Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - The R50million KwaZulu-Natal Youth Fund launched by the province’s acting premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday is not a favour to the province’s youth or a means of garnering votes.

This is according to Zikalala who maintained that the initiative was a necessary intervention which would aid the youth to venture into businesses.

Zikalala said although this cash injection was not substantial, it would also assist youth in rural areas.

“This will ensure sustainability of new businesses during their critical start-up phase. We have undertaken to ensure that this support for youth entrepreneurs comes from the captains of industry attached to the KZN Growth Coalition, KZN Economic Council and chambers of commerce across the province,” said Zikalala.

He noted that a number of youth-orientated business developments were hampered by a lack of entrepreneurial skills. With this funding, he said, young people would also have access to mentors who will guide them on their journey for two years.

The fund is set to also be for franchises owned by the youth as the franchise sectors in many developed countries had been lauded as the most suitable strategy to develop entrepreneurship among the youth, allowing them to learn and grow within a tried and tested environment.

“The current youth generation has proclaimed their course as the realisation of economic freedom in their lifetime. Being conscious of this call and the reality that the majority of the youth linger in streets with no jobs, to access to business opportunities, the government could not ignore its inherent role of addressing this plight,” Zikalala said.

He further maintained that the fund would ensure continuous support of start-up firms.

“We must hasten to point out that the financial assets will remain the property of the KZN government and will only be transferable to another youth entity if the initially financed entity fails to continue operating within the first three years,” said Zikalala.

Kwazi Mshengu, chairperson of the ANC Youth League in KZN, said that youth development was not only the business of government; other social partners had to join in.

Musa Makhunga, the president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce, urged potential beneficiaries to come on board saying that the funding was just one of the many critical success factors of any business.

“A five-point factor scale funding only makes up about 24% of what you need to be successful. This initiative is providing you with that, but be aware that more is required than just the funding,” Makhunga said.

Political Bureau