The project was launched on 24 February at the Imbizo Buy and Braai, which is also known as Busy Corner, in Ebony Park, Midrand. Ithubalentsha is a Zulu word meaning “an opportunity for youth”. The project is aimed at addressing barriers that young aspirant and established entrepreneurs face in their pursuit of economic development.
It will help young people by giving them relevant skills and start-up loans ranging from R1 000 to R100 000. Beneficiaries will be between the ages of 18 and 35; preference, however, will be given to people with disabilities.
“We believe that the Ithubalentsha programme will go a long way in creating direct and sustainable employment for young people, thereby alleviating the scourge of youth unemployment, which is a major concern for the NYDA,” said Steven Ngubeni, the agency’s chief executive. Ngubeni said it wanted to partner with the public and private sectors to ensure the project ran smoothly and effectively.
The deputy minister of trade and industry, Thandi Tobias-Pokolo, was also at the launch. She commended the NYDA for its initiative, and encouraged young people to come forward with innovative yet realistic business ideas.
“You need to come with ideas that appeal to the client. When you start a business think about simple things that you can do.” She also took the opportunity to criticise financial institutions that refused to fund young people, claiming they were a risk.
Rita Zwane, the owner of Busy Corner, said she had been rejected by many financial institutions and had started unsuccessful businesses. Eventually she saw the need to open a shisa nyama, and her success began there.
Today about 80 people benefitted from her business, of which 33 were permanently employed. Others, such as teenagers, worked for her on weekends. Zwane said she wanted to set up an Imbizo bursary programme, through which she could help young people who wanted to pursue careers in the hospitality, food and beverages industry.
Zwane is an Ithubalentsha ambassador, along with the author and activist for people with disabilities, Nenio Mbazima, and Sibusiso Mkhwanazi, the chief executive of the marketing company, KrazyBoyz Digital.
The NYDA has called on volunteers to mentor young entrepreneurs. These can be experienced entrepreneurs, business consultants, postgraduate students or retired professionals. Aspiring and established entrepreneurs are invited to submit their applications to the NYDA for consideration to participate in Ithubalentsha.