As the country celebrated Youth Day on 16 June, the government encourages young people to make the most of the opportunities presented to them to begin their own businesses. Youth Day is the commemoration of the youth who protested educational inequality in 1976.
Mondli Gungubele, the Minister in the Presidency encouraged the youth on 16 June to seize every opportunity that comes their way to grow and start their own businesses. Gungubele believes that the youth are the future of the country and therefore, the government will continue to create opportunities to help the youth become successful entrepreneurs and leaders.
“The youth of 2022 is called upon to help us build a better tomorrow for everyone. Young people become agents of change, embrace the opportunities provided and rise to the challenge of leading South Africa’s post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Gungubele.
The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) stated that the government is creating favourable conditions for youth-owned businesses to thrive through Presidential youth employment intervention programmes such as the Youth Employment Stimulus and the Social Employment Fund.
Formal education and training, learnerships, internships and support for youth entrepreneurship are available through the Youth Employment Stimulus. Since October 2020, the first two phases of the programme supported more than 850 000 work opportunities.
The Social Employment Fund has recruited 50 000 individuals in community safety, digital inclusion, food and nutrition, and sports, arts, and recreation. Another 50 000 participants will be recruited for the revitalised National Youth Service.
Young people may also explore the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), the Community Works Programme and the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. These programmes create job opportunities for unemployed individuals.
More than 1 100 youth-owned businesses in the rural and township economy were provided with grant funding to open their businesses through the NYDA grant programme. Youth-owned businesses, supported through the NYDA grant programme and the Youth Micro Enterprise Relief Fund, have created and sustained 8 600 jobs in the economy.
GCIS stated that “the government acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of young people towards the advancement of the country. It is equally alive to the challenges faced by the youth, such as the high unemployment rate, gender-based violence, and substance abuse. Government remains determined in dealing with the challenges faced by the youth.”