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Business will be at the forefront of activities during Youth Month, specifically measures to help youth-owned businesses become sustainable.
VIGOROUS measures will be implemented to empower youth-owned businesses during Youth Month, according to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

 

Gauteng premier Nomvula MokonyaneGauteng premier Nomvula MokonyaneSpeaking at the launch of Youth Month on 6 June, Mokonyane said the Gauteng provincial government and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), and other youth development structures, had partnered to ensure viable development of youth enterprises.
 

“As part of the youth development and empowerment programme of the Gauteng provincial government and the NYDA, we are rolling out 50 car wash projects which are linked to the business hubs including township beauty parlours, internet cafes, and buy and braais,” said Mokonyane.

Formalising informal business would play a critical role in sustaining the livelihoods of young people benefiting from the businesses. “From 15 June to 15 July, the provincial government will promote the procurement of services required with a bias towards youth-owned companies.”

To steer business opportunities to youth-owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), government departments will be required to account for their youth procurement spend by the end of July.

Youth entrepreneurs are encouraged to register with Gauteng’s shared services unit between 10 and 30 June.

Youth development agency

SimonNYDA's Simon MolefeEchoing Mokonyane’s sentiments, the chairperson of the NYDA’s Gauteng Provincial Advisory Board, Simon Molefe, said: “We will be working hand-in-glove with the provincial government to identify youth business through the existing SMMEs database.”
 

The agency would work tirelessly to ensure a swift delivery of services. “We will be working to ensure that we fast track administrative processes such as approval of micro loans,” he said, encouraging young people to visit their nearest NYDA office to enquire about services offered.

“One our focuses for the year has been to encourage suitability of township enterprises.” In doing so, Molefe said, his organisation was running entrepreneurship workshops for young people. At these, basic business management skills, including marketing, accounting and other business courses, were taught.

This initiative would help the provincial government a great deal in creating more employment opportunities in townships, where there was a desperate need. It would also deal with the high level of poverty, he added.

Poverty
Elaborating on the poverty alleviation aspect, Mokonyane said: “In an effort to mitigate poverty, unemployment and joblessness caused by the economic depression, we are going to implement [a] ‘one job per needy household for 100 days programme’ as part of the National Youth Service.”

These families would be identified through Gauteng’s social database of people who depended on social grants for survival. The programme would begin in Mogale City, Joburg’s western neighbour, in a township still to be identified.

 

BusinessesYouth business is getting a boostTo accelerate skills training, Gauteng had rolled out the National Youth Service programme. Through it, the department of infrastructure development had recruited 4 000 young people for 12 months to gain work experience while receiving accredited training in the fields of built environment, health, social development, agriculture and community safety, according to Mokonyane.
 

However, she acknowledged that facilitating youth programmes would not be easy, given the number of people from other provinces flooding into Gauteng in search of better opportunities. “The youth development challenges that our province continues to face are inherent and unique to our character as the economic hub of our country, and the entire sub-Saharan region.”

She said that empowering the youth was a way of honouring the legacy of those young people who selflessly gave their lives for the betterment of others. “[In] Youth Month this year, our country commemorates the 35th anniversary of the historic June 16, 1976 student uprising, offering us an opportunity to take stock and highlight what government in partnership with youth, has done in improving the lives of young people in Gauteng.”

The provincial government would host a programme of social dialogue with young women, in memory of the late struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu.

The premier said the initiative would help to highlight the issues and values for which Sisulu stood, such as social consciousness, reproductive rights, sexual orientation rights, and access to economic opportunities as well as partnerships with the private sector for coaching and mentorship.

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