Fifty-five youth entrepreneurs in Kwazulu-Natal have been awarded grants totalling over R70 million by the provincial government in a bid to boost local youth economic participation.
The grants form part of the first projects of the Provincial Youth Business Development Fund, which was launched earlier this year.
Kwazulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said the fund was meant to assist youth entrepreneurs who did not qualify for loans due to a lack of credit history or collateral.
Youth entrepreneurs were invited to submit applications for government support earlier this year.
Zikalala said over 2,000 applications were received and subjected to thorough scrutiny and evaluation, which led to the final selection of the 55 youth beneficiaries.
He said businesses that received support were those that showed high potential to create jobs.
“It is not that we are funding operational cost but we said we want to start by ensuring that the youth businesses we are funding are those who want specific equipment or support that will make them work.”
Zikalala added that a private financial institution has pledged a further R70 million in loan facilities to assist youth entrepreneurs who require more financial support than what the government has given.