The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) has said that it’s important to them to empower youth-owned businesses in building an inclusive economy, particularly Black youth. Sefa believes that assisting young entrepreneurs is vital for South Africa’s economy, and will boost efforts to achieve the country’s National Development Plan 2030 goals.
As the country observes Youth Month – in which it commemorated the 45th anniversary of the 1976 student uprising in Soweto on Youth Day, 16 June 2021 – Sefa would like to highlight the important role young entrepreneurs play in our economy and encourage them, along with other small-business owners, to access funding in order to grow their businesses.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Small Business Development and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, along with Sefa, had identified the need to stimulate early entrepreneurship development, which resulted in the establishment of programmes such as the Small Business Innovation Fund.
Sefa said it has also entered into various partnerships to assist South African SMMEs, in which youth, women and people with disabilities are the main beneficiaries. Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced Sefa to redirect its resources to Covid-19 relief and economic recovery programmes, targeted at reviving mainly township and rural economies. Despite these conditions, in the past financial year, Sefa managed to fund more than 18,000 youth-owned enterprises to the value of R212m across different industries.
“We are engaging with youth entrepreneurs throughout Youth Month as a show of our commitment to the youth. We are also working closely with the National Development Agency to improve our offerings, and are using social media to participate in dialogues that allow us to create tailored programmes for startups,” says Sefa’s CEO Mxolisi Matshamba.
In helping the government to accelerate access to finance, Sefa said it acknowledges the difficulties facing youth-owned small businesses in this regard, and is working with the Department of Small Business Development to make access to finance affordable for small businesses through the implementation of a blended finance model. This model involves the mixing of grants and loans to lower the cost of capital for borrowers – with increased access to funding.
On 22 June 2021 Sefa will host a webinar for young entrepreneurs on how to access funding. Email to register and receive the webinar link. Sefa is also highlighting young entrepreneurs on its social media channels during Youth Month.