In an effort to contribute to the reduction of Youth Unemployment in the country, the Government of Swaziland established the Youth Enterprise Fund in February 2008 under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs. The Youth Enterprise Fund is a business support mechanism established for youth between the ages of 18 – 35years aimed at contributing to the reduction of youth unemployment through the provision of business capital for qualifying individuals, associations and companies. It has been established through the Finance and Audit Act, 1967, Act no: 18 0f 1967. The Youth Enterprise Fund Regulations, 2009 provide guidance on how the Fund should be established and administered. It is a government parastatal classified under Category A of the Public Enterprise Act. It is administered by a multi-sectoral Board of Directors. Its day to day business is run by a secretariat comprising of 3 office bearers. The loan applications are assessed by an intermediary institution upon receiving the forms from the secretariat and presented to the Board of Directors for approval.
The Youth Enterprise Fund aims to curb Youth unemployment through achieving the following objectives:
Empowering the youth to engage in economic and commercial enterprise through the initiation and ownership of small and large businesses in different spheres.
Empowering the youth to be self employed and to create wealth through the employment of others
Facilitating the provision of skills development for loan recipients and youth at Tinkhundla centers
Exposing the youth to business environments through internship opportunities
Providing mentorship to youth owned enterprise
Providing seed capital without the need for collateral to the youth
Financing the growth of existing youth enterprises
Facilitating the establishment of national youth entrepreneurship award schemes
i. Individuals - E20 000 ($2857.00) ii. Companies with three Directors - E50 000 ($7132.00) iii. Associations with up to 10 members - E100 000($14285.00)
The Fund is disbursed in Phases. In phase 1, 499 young people received loans in 2010 amounting to E5 800 000 ($828 571.00)
Phase 11 of the applications is in progress.
Youth collect forms from Tinkhundla
Youth Return Completed Forms to Tinkhundla
YEF collects Applications from Tinkhundla
YEF office records applications, and send to Intermediary
Intermediary, assesses, shortlists applications and recommends to Board for approval
Applications returned to intermediary with board’s approval/ratification
Youths are advised through letters of approval issued by intermediary
YEF office facilitates distribution of approval letters to Inkhundla
Disbursement by intermediary
Intermediary monitors and reports to board on performance monthly.
Areas of Focus for the Next Four Years
i. Resource Mobilisation ii. Entrepreneurial Skills Development iii. Development and Strengthening of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework iv. Decentralisation of the Youth Enterprise Services v. Lobbying for the Recognition of Small and Medium Enterprises by Government and other developed companies. All the above areas of focus will form basis of the YEF strategic plan which will be developed in June 2011.