Eswatini Daily News
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E20 million set aside to finance youth SMEs

By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

Young business people in Eswatini have received a boost following the announcement of E20 million worth of funding to assist to grow their entities.

It was announced on Wednesday that the youth of Eswatini can now access the E20 million Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises following a partnership forged between JA Eswatini and the Eswatini National Industrial Development Corporation (ENIDC).

The two organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see young business people in entrepreneurship tap into the funds provided by ENIDC aimed at changing young people’s destinies by supporting them financially to elevate their businesses to viability and success.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, ENIDC Managing Director, Muzikayise Dube expressed their willingness as an organization to grow youth businesses by assisting them to access more funds through the new partnership.

“Our main aim is to invest in economically and financially viable, technically feasible, and environmentally friendly projects that have sustainable medium and long-term returns and growth effects to Eswatini’s socio-economy and its stakeholders,” Dube said.

Dube emphasized that the finance to be provided will be for already existing, profitable, and growing businesses, where they as an organization will guarantee the loans taken by the youth for ease of access.

JA Eswatini Executive Director Phetsile Masilela thanked ENIDC for having confidence in JA Eswatini as an organization in ensuring they provide finance for the youth through them. She said the availability of funds has always been a hurdle in growing youth businesses and JA Eswatini is grateful for the opportunity to help the youth have access to these funds for growing and sustaining their businesses.

“The numbers of youth businesses without funding have skyrocketed and every year as JA we produce new cutting-edge business ideas that need to be sustained and grown to help improve the country’s economic status,” she said.

Masilela also added that the beneficiaries of this funding will go through training and a mentorship period that is aimed at ensuring the funds are not mismanaged and that the businesses are sustained and funding paid back as it is expected by ENIDC.

“For all beneficiaries, we will have a six-month mentorship program that will handhold them until their businesses are sustained,” Masilela concluded.

The cycle for this funding will be a month to ensure all young people are exposed to these opportunities, where graduate young people will be preferred. The overall objective of this partnership is to contribute towards the reduction of the unemployment rate for Out-of-School Youth who have graduated, through entrepreneurship skills development, with a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and wealth creation.

This partnership will also enhance career and business development for youth entrepreneurs through the mentorship programme.

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