Young South Africans pushed to take a stand


The National Youth Development Agency has taken to social media to motivate young people to lead by example. This initiative is part of Youth Month commemorations to remind today’s youth of those of 1976.

 nyda_youth_pledge_2_article The NYDA recently posted a video and asked youth to pledge their roles in society, and how they will use their strengths such as connectivity to make South Africa a better place. (Image: Screen grab via YouTube)

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Melissa Javan

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) recently kicked off a campaign on social media in which young South Africans are asked: “How are you going to help move South Africa forward?” The initiative prompts young people to pledge how they will lead by example, in the same spirit as the youth of 1976 actively led protests for equality.

The NYDA was set up as a government facility in 2008 to help address some of the problems facing South African youth, such as low skills development and unemployment. One of its roles is to give grant funding to entrepreneurs or youth co-operatives to help their businesses to grow.

In a video posted on YouTube, NYDA Youth Pledge, the agency points out that when people in this country come together, good things happen. “Today I open my eyes and see a country worth believing in. I see how far we have come,” says the narrator. “I see my brothers and sisters aiming high to fulfil their destinies. I see our strength. I see our people connecting… persistence… our togetherness. Today I see hope.”

Following the video, the NYDA took to Twitter on 2 June to encourage South African youth to take part in the campaign, #YouthPledge2015. They asked young South Africans how they would make a positive impact:

And the youth responded:

According to the agency, its focus has shifted to education and skills development. The fundamental change is a move from loan provision to grant provision for young entrepreneurs, NYDA says.

The NYDA no longer offers loan finance to young entrepreneurs; instead, it offers grant finance in the form of micro-finance grants for survivalist youth entrepreneurship as well as co-operative grants for greater participation by young people in the co-operatives sector.

“The programme focuses on youth entrepreneurs who are just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential but are not yet fully developed,” the agency says. Grant finance starts at R1 000 and reaches a maximum of R100 000 for individuals and youth co-ops.

Speaking to Fin24, the financial news division of news agency News24, in 2014, NYDA chairperson Yershen Pillay said the agency existed to support the youth. “The NYDA will not deliver you to the promised land… it will not give you a job. One should do that [oneself] with the help of the NYDA,” Pillay said.

In reaching the youth, his organisation had an enormous task. “We cannot have the NYDA do it alone. Youth development should be a concern for everyone and every sector in our country.”

Types of funding available

Grants for young entrepreneurs are available for, but are not limited to, motor mechanics and panel beaters, electricians, plumbers, domestic appliance repairs and services, hair dressers, cleaning companies, beauticians, small-scale recycling businesses, car washes and street vendors, among others. Grants can be issues through the following channels:

  • Individual grants issued to formal and informal businesses in the start-up phase of their business or in the development stage;
  • Grants issued to co-operatives, meaning an autonomous association of people united to meet common economic and social goals through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise; and,
  • Community development and facilitation projects.

Other products and services

The NYDA’s products and services include the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, co-op support, business support services, mentorship, and entrepreneurship development programmes. To apply for these programmes, applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 35.

People between the ages of 14 and 35 can apply for a skills development programme. Young people who failed their matric exams, can apply for the Nation Senior Certificate Second Chance programme.

It offers tuition of 52 hours per subject, study guides, career guides, three assessments per subject, academic support, and registration with the Department of Basic Education to rewrite the Grade 12 examinations.

Bertha Raphasha, the founder and head designer of Modish Passé, received a financial injection from the NYDA. In 2012, she established her label and registered it as a subsidiary of Black Mint Holdings, an investment company she had founded. This was all done while she was studying for a fashion design diploma at the University of Johannesburg.

She had already invested in her business by buying a sewing machine. However, she needed a boost to complete her production flow and reduce outsourcing. To enhance her business operations, Raphasha applied for and received funding of R10 000 from the NYDA to buy additional equipment. Now Modish Passé employs three young people and continues to produce tailored and ready-to-wear garments.

Determined to grow her brand, Raphasha furthered her training at Minjian University in Fuzhou in China and is being mentored at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. “Since the establishment, I have been marketing the label extensively by participating in several exhibitions and fashion shows. I am glad to have followed my passion because every day is a new adventure, for which I’m energised and eager to discover,” she said.

Qualification criteria

NYDA grants are available to individuals or co-operatives that meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be youth (18 to 35 years old) with the necessary skills and experience or show the potential for gaining skills in the business and industry in which they wish to operate.
  • Applicants must be South African citizens with ID documents and must operate their business within South Africa.
  • Applicants must need the grant to start or grow their business – they must have no other source of capital.
  • Applicants must be involved in the operation and management of the business on a day-to-day basis and be prepared to work in it full-time.
  • The business may be formal or informal and categorised as a micro-enterprise, such as a street vendor.
  • The enterprise must show, or have potential to be commercially viable and sustainable.
  • Applicants should be sole traders or in the case of groups have a minimum of five people.
  • Grants may be used for working capital, asset finance and stock purchase.

For more information, visit NYDA website.

Watch the NYDA Youth Pledge video here: