Business information was shared at a group of aspirant young entrepreneurs, such as where and how to get funding for start-ups.
INFORMATION about getting funding to start up small businesses was given to young people at a Youth Empowerment Indaba in Region F.
Brian Brian Masango's targeted beneficiary unit looks into empowering the youthMore than 200 young people attended the meeting, held on 21 April at the Queen Modjadji Hall in Turffontein. They shared information and ideas about starting and developing small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
Participants were selected from the City’s database of people who had gone through its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects.
The EPWP is a national government initiative that involves creating temporary work opportunities for the unemployed, using public sector expenditure. The emphasis is on relatively unskilled work opportunities, and all of the work opportunities generated by the EPWP are combined with training, education or skills development, with the aim of increasing the ability of people to earn an income once they leave the programme.
The main objective of yesterday’s indaba was to empower and inform young people about business opportunities available to them once they had completed some training through the EPWP, explained the manager of service delivery in Region F, Irene Mafume.
“It is part of the exit strategy. Region F wants to ensure that all EPWP participants create job opportunities for themselves through starting SMMEs and joint ventures with other established businesses.”
Official youth development structures took part in the seminar, giving advice on SMME growth and development. They included the department of economic development’s targeted beneficiary unit, the stakeholder management unit, the youth directorate, The Business Place and the National Youth Development Agency.
It was the first Youth Empowerment Indaba in Region F.
“It is high time that we start getting involved in helping the City to create more job opportunities. The power to change the future lies in our hands,” said Portia Mtabane, the owner of Youth Unit Desk Primary Co-operative, an events and IT company.
YouthYouths give input at the Youth Empowerment IndabaShe inspired other young people with her success story. “I have three other partners on board who contribute a lot in the running of the business. Since we have started we have made great progress, and we are making a name for ourselves.”
But it had not all been smooth sailing, said the 24-year-old from Thulisa Park, in the south. “It was difficult to survive as a woman in a male-dominated industry. We struggled to source funding as were turned down by various youth development structures.”
She said the indaba was a great platform for young people to source information. “I did not know about The Business Place. From now, I will visit them to get some of the advice on expanding my business.”
The officer of youth affairs in the youth directorate, Lerato Ndlovu, explained: “Youth development is our priority and we will continue working to ensure that our young people get information and necessary assistance. We facilitate internship and learnership programmes, as one of the measures to provide the youth with necessary skills required by the job market.”
Information about learnerships and internships was available on notice boards and at information centres in all departments in the City.
Brian Masango, the acting head of the targeted beneficiary unit, said the main objective of the unit was to integrate young people into being the main economic contributors.
“The only crucial factor that we are looking at is skills development. We equip young people with skills in various fields and also assist them in starting co-operatives,” said Masango.
Through one of its skills development programmes, 50 young people were recently awarded certificates for completing a five-month training course in making coffins. They were selected from the City’s database of former soldiers.
The targeted beneficiary unit was aimed at empowering, the youth, women and disabled people. Since its inception in 2008, it had played an instrumental role in integrating a number of former convicts back into the community.
Masango urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities at their disposal. “There are a lot of opportunities available within the City’s youth development structures. Use these establishments to your benefit,” he said.
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