The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has launched the Youth Enterprise Development Strategy (YEDS), which will see more young people play an active role in the economy.
The launch on Monday coincided with the official opening of the Micro Enterprise Development Organisation (MEDO) Youth ICT Incubator in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the launch, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said YEDS would promote youth self-employment and youth-owned and managed enterprises, which will ensure that young people actively participate in the strengthening and growing of the economy.
Davies said government had realised that it needed a package of solutions to create more employment opportunities for the youth.
“What we have learned is that two-thirds of our youth entrepreneurs are self-taught and are informal. For our strategy to be effective, we need youth targets set aside in priority sectors, and what’s important is for us to strengthen the capabilities of these informal businesses.
“As a response, the dti has set itself the target of increasing the percentage of youth managed start-up businesses from 5% to 50%,” he said.
YEDS is government’s response to a call made by the New Growth Path (NGP) for the state to provide bold, imaginative and effective strategies to create millions of new jobs that will address youth unemployment and the limited participation of young people in the economy.
MEDO is one of the 30 incubators supported by the dti incubation programme.
“We are trying to bring a major change in how business is being done in South Africa. We want to create an environment where local small suppliers can be so well capacitated that they would be able to supply our private sector, doing away with their dependence on imported goods.
“The ultimate goal is to see our entrepreneurs producing value-added products that would compete with the import influx,” said Davies.
MEDO CEO Judi Sandrock said: “To date, we have had more than 800 entrepreneurs that have gone through our programme, and with the support from the dti, I can confirm that we are in a favourable position to take in even more aspirant entrepreneurs through our doors.”
MEDO connects large companies (with an annual turnover above R35 million), with emerging micro and small enterprises. It facilitates micro and small business development and supplier relationships.