A total of 499 youth business enterprises were established last year.
Youth Enterprise Fund Secretary Bheki Thwala yesterday said the Fund used up an amount of E5.8 million towards funding youth businesses.
He said their main aim was to contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment through the provision of business capital for young people to start their own businesses.
Thwala said they also targeted to sensitise young people to be aware of the availability of the Fund and its benefits to young people. The Youth Enterprise Fund was formulated with the aim to encourage young people to venture into entrepreneurship to create jobs and reduce the unemployment rate.
Thwala said they engaged 55 volunteers, who were attached in the different constituencies to educate the youth about the Fund. “Regional dialogues were also held with community leaders which included chiefs, constituency headmen and the youth themselves, especially chairpersons of the Tinkhundla Youth Committees under the Swaziland National Youth Council,” he said.
Thwala assured the youth that starting up a business in the country was not difficult. He explained that the environment was conducive for the youth to start their own businesses.
He said the Youth Fund, however, needed to strengthen the working environment through lobbying the business community and government to support young entrepreneurs through the development of youth friendly business policies and procedures.
Recently, His Majesty King Mswati III said the youth remained an important segment of the society.
The King said it was for that reason that government would continue to roll out entrepreneurial programmes for the youth to start businesses because they were held in high esteem. He also encouraged the youth to take full advantage of the opportunities at their disposal.
“They should focus on skills development and job creation initiatives. They should avoid by all means, using their energy on self destructive habits that could ruin their lives,” he said.
“The King further hailed the youth which has successfully started up business initiatives, benefiting from the Fund. He urged them to be role models in their communities and always strive to leave a good legacy.
Youth Enterprise Fund engages technical advisor
IN a move to make a meaningful contribution towards uplifting the country’s economy, the Youth Enterprise Fund has engaged services of a technical advisor, who will advise the youth on starting up and sustaining their businesses.
Youth Enterprise Fund Secretary Bheki Thwala said they had established a partnership with the Commonwealth Youth Programme Africa Regional Centre based in Zambia, which would attach a technical advisor to the youth for six months.
He said the advisor was expected to arrive in the country in March. The advisor, according to Thwala, would assist the Fund with the development of a strategic and action plan for the next five years. He said he/she would also be tasked with developing a fundraising strategy which would enable the Fund to increase its financial base.
Thwala said, however, the Fund was not spared from the economic challenges which affected the country in 2010. “Nonetheless, the Fund strived to meet its mandate set by the government of Swaziland in terms of ensuring that business capital for young people was availed to assist them to start their enterprises,” he said.
It has been said time and again that it was very important that the country invests in the youth because they are the future of the country’s economy. Other organisations such as the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) work together with the youth to help them start up businesses. The organisation instills business principles to young people at tertiary institutions.
The students get to compete with their counterparts from all over the world where they also share business ideas.
Some SIFE products have started businesses after tertiary education and they form part of the successful small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in the country.
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