KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has announced the extension of the province's youth fund with an allocation of R100 million for the upcoming financial year.
The youth fund was first launched in 2019 and had an allocation of R50 million. The Department of Economic Development and Tourism contributed a further R20 million to strengthen the potential impact of the fund.
This money is provided through grants to young people who present viable business plans that also demonstrate sustainability. R69 million has already been disbursed to young entrepreneurs in the province.
The reported success of the initiative has since resulted in the province committing more funding to provide more youth with the opportunity to benefit from the programme.
“We're doing wonders in the economic space, then we agreed that we should then take this allocation into hundred million so the KwaZulu-Natal business fund for this current financial year will be a hundred million rand,” said Zikalala.
Agriculture, manufacturing, information technology as well as furthering the green and blue economies in the province were identified as key focus areas for the fund. Green economy strategies focus on the sectors of energy, transport, agriculture and forestry, while the blue economy focuses on fisheries sectors and coastal resources.
Zikalala believes the youth fund will address feelings of hopelessness and being left behind among the province's youth. Other initiatives are available that support people trading goods in townships and rural areas.
“We want to stimulate the township and the rural economy so that people will have that comfort and understanding that their government is doing all to empower them and to ensure that they enter and participate in the economy” concluded the premier.