The City of Cape Town recently awarded 100 young entrepreneurs prizes in its YouthStart challenge.

YouthStart was created by the city as part of its Organisational Development and Transformation Plan to help stimulate entrepreneurship among young people.

The challenge was launched in March, encouraging young people from between the ages of 18 and 35 years to submit their existing businesses which currently create employment opportunities for youth, or a business idea which plans to include employment opportunities for young people.

“We know that the youth want opportunities to prove themselves and help uplift themselves, their families, and their communities. They do not want handouts,” said Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille.

“So we found a way to give their creative business ideas a platform. We also wanted to help them to help other young people ridding themselves from the shackles of unemployment and hopelessness,” she said.

The top-100 finalists will receive business and entrepreneurial training through Absa’s “Ready to Work” programme. The bank is also providing business development support training over five days for the 100 finalists.

The top 10 entrepreneurs will be included in Absa’s financial literacy programme and will receive a laptop.

The top three winners will receive bespoke entrepreneurship training and seed capital to the value of approximately R65 000 from Absa to kick-start their business idea.

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) will provide customised non-financial services in line with the Seda’s mandate to the selected youth entrepreneurs on the following, among others:

  • Business diagnosis analysis
  • Management system implementation
  • Joint venture and business-to-business facilitation
  • Facilitate registration of new business entities
  • Cooperative facilitation
  • Drafting business plans
  • Facilitate access to finance mentorship

Seda will also give the top three targeted business support and the agency will pay 90% of what the business advisors and the entrepreneurs agree on to pursue in terms of their respective projects.

A host of other prizes from the  University of the Western Cape, the Raymond Ackerman Academy and False Bay College were also awarded to the top 10.

“We are extremely proud of these partners for stepping up to the plate and assisting the youth through this corporate social investment. And we call it an investment because when we give to the youth it is society at large that benefits. It is the key to unlocking the potential within them, allowing them to become citizens who can contribute to the greater good,” de Lille said.

de Lille congratulated the top 100 on their achievement. “You had the courage of your convictions to speak out about your ideas, and now you will all be reaping the rewards. A lot of hard work lies ahead of you, but we believe in you and we know that you have what it takes to make a success of this opportunity. It is not only the future which lies in your hands, it is the present which lies in your hands as well,” she said.