The youth unemployment rate in South Africa reached its peak in 2021, with more than 60% of the country’s youth aged 15 to 24 being without employment during this period.
Although entrepreneurship can be risky, it is encouraged, especially in South Africa where securing a job can be a challenge.
South Africa and its government offers support to its budding entrepreneurs through various initiatives such as the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), and/or providing tax incentives or breaks.
Here are a few ways that South Africa supports its entrepreneurs:
The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)
The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) provides business development and support services for small enterprises. Seda will give you all the information you need to start a business, including how to write a business plan, and once you have a business, to grow it.
Seda is the only government agency dedicated to helping small businesses start, grow, expand and thrive but most importantly help them be sustainable and contribute to the economic development of South Africa.
Seda's small business support services are free, personalised provided by experienced business advisors and have been helping South African small business for over 18 years.
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)
The NYDA grant programme is one of the most well-known youth business funding opportunities provided by the South African government. The programme offers financial and non-financial support to entrepreneurs in the development phase or already existing businesses.
The NYDA targets qualifying youth businesses, including co-operatives and community facilitation projects, that show potential for growth. Additionally, entrepreneurs must have the necessary skills and experience to run the enterprise.
The NYDA was established by Parliament primarily to address challenges faced by the nation’s youth.
The institution was established to be a single, unitary structure addressing youth development issues at National, Provincial and Local Government level.
The types of businesses assisted through the NYDA grant programme include, but are not limited to, motor mechanics and panel beaters, electricians, plumbers, domestic appliance repair services, beauticians, hairdressers, cleaning companies, small scale recycling companies, street vendors, car washes and others.
If you are successful with your application, your NYDA grant can be used for any of the following activities:
- Purchase movable and immovable assets
- Bridging finance
- Shop renovations
- Working capital paid directly to the grantee
- Co-funding with legal entities only
Youth Enterprise Development Programme
The Youth Enterprise Development Programme is the flagship offering for Grade 10 and 11 learners. Learners form companies and go through the entire process of starting up businesses and developing products or services. They learn about all the aspects of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and life skills.
The longer version is the premium Entrepreneurship Academy Programme, which guides 18 to 35 year-olds through the process of establishing sustainable businesses. For 6 months, participants attend incubator-style classes, followed by a further 6 months of support and mentorship.
There are other shorter entrepreneurial courses, including programmes focusing on addressing environmental issues, financial literacy, career planning and workplace readiness.
Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA)
For over 38 years, JASA’s in-school and out-of-school youth programmes have provided entrepreneurship, financial literacy and workplace readiness training, reaching upwards of 7 000 learners and young adults annually.
through experiential learning, participants tackle real issues related to starting up and running small businesses, and the Services SETA has accredited 2 premium JASA programmes at NQF Level 4.
Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn
The Western Cape Government established the Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn in collaboration with the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) to enable, support, and grow the township tech ecosystem in the Western Cape.
The Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn is South Africa's only township-based tech hub and offers community space that supports tech entrepreneurship, innovation and digital skills development within the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain communities.