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YOUTH MAKING INROADS TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Education TrainingCommunity AffairsCommunity DevelopmentEconomy

“With Youth Month upon us, this should serve as a constant reminder of the plight of youth and the moral obligation we have as ordinary citizens and corporates to help elevate marginalised communities.”

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    Helping small businesses to thrive at a time when South Africa’s unemployment rate is at a 14-year high, will be key to reducing the high rate of unemployment and putting an end to generational poverty.

    This is the belief of Ithala Development Finance Corporation whose mandate is to deliver development and empowerment solutions and encourage participation in all sectors of the economy through employment creation, skills transfer and training.

    The quarterly labour force survey released by Statistics South Africa revealed that the unemployment rate is 27.7%. About 58% are young people aged between 15 and 34 years old. In total, although more than 140 000 people had been employed, the number of job seekers had increased by more than 430 000.

    “Such a dire situation requires collective intervention from the public and private sectors to stimulate the economy and create jobs,” said Themba Mathe, Ithala Acting Group Chief Executive.

    “With Youth Month upon us, this should serve as a constant reminder of the plight of youth and the moral obligation we have as ordinary citizens and corporates to help elevate marginalised communities.”

    To date Ithala has disbursed R878 600 000 to nearly 700 businesses, resulting in over 8 000 jobs being created.

    Of these, 28% are women-owned businesses and young people comprise nearly 40% of Ithala’s loan book.

    The Amajuba Fashion Cluster (AFC), a non-profit company, was conceptualised and established by Siboniso Mazibuko, a local youth in the Amajuba District Municipality, in response to the growing unemployment rate amongst women and youth in the district.

    At least 300 businesses in the dominant textile and clothing industries in the municipality have afforded 30 000 workers a livelihood.

    To support the initiative, Ithala provided 1 500 square metres of land at its Madadeni Industrial Estate near Newcastle to enable the fashion cluster to extend the Amajuba Textile and Clothing Training Centre (ATCTC) facilities.

    The Centre was established with the purpose of closing the skills development gap and to stimulate employability among the youth in the area. The programme is supported by the Provincial Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environment Affairs (EDTEA).

    As the pioneer of the development of commercial centres and industrial estates in rural areas, Ithala supports the KZN Provincial Growth Strategy Plan to revitalise the industrial economic hub of Amajuba.

    Several winners from the 2015 and 2016 Inkunz’isematholeni Youth in Business programme spearheaded by Ithala are now thriving in their respective industries of operation.

    The programme encourages young people to come up with innovative and unique business concepts and enter these into a competition with the top two winners taking more than R450 000 worth of business support for innovative business ideas in various sectors.

    As the strategic partners in Inkunz’isematholeni, InvoTech and Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) have a seed fund programme in place that assists qualifying KwaZulu-Natal-based clients to develop proof of concepts and prototypes for their innovative technology-based ideas.

    Inventors of the Iziko Stove - Luthando Msomi, Lindokuhle Duma and Simthembile Sibhayi - have seen their business concept elevate to the next level, thanks to Ithala. New welding equipment has been purchased to boost production; the brand identity for the business has been developed and the business is now fully registered as “Iziko Stoves” which operates from the Cato Manor SMME business centre.

    Potato sack farmer, Busi Mntungwa, has established her business on a farm in Ashburton, near Pietermaritzburg after signing a lease agreement with Ithala. Busi is currently being mentored by InvoTech with support from non-profit organisation, Enactus, to ensure solid returns on the project.

    Martin Ngcobo who created the “Instant lite firewood” received working capital for 12 months from Ithala towards business costs such as product testing at the South African Bureau of Standards, transportation and other variable business expenses.

    His company, Ngcobo Business Group, has been registered and ongoing engagements with potential buyers are in place. Ngcobo will be attending an innovation boot camp in Canada courtesy of TIA after which he will join a mentorship programme to implement the learnings gained from his trip.

    Inventor of the “Tyke Bike”, Nkululeko Khumalo, has had engagements with eThekwini Municipality to assist him with research for implementing his business idea in Durban. Khumalo will also be attending the innovation boot camp in Canada and benefiting from the TIA mentorship programme.

    For more information on Ithala visit www.ithala.co.za or call 031 907 8911.

    Issued by:       Ithala Development Finance Corporation

                            29 Canal Quay Road, Point Waterfront, Durban