Tuesday March 20, 2018

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Read by the Hon Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini








Honourable Ministers

Managing Director of Swaziland Beverages

Distinguished Guests

The Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all to this year’s Awards in the Swaziland Beverages KickstartProgramme. I regret that I am unable to do so in person owing to other duties but the Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Paul Dlamini, has kindly agreed to read my statement to you.


I am delighted to attend this ceremony. In fact, the same degree of enthusiasm applies to any event that encourages and rewards entrepreneurshipin any substantial manner. And especially where assistance is so actively and productivelygiven to actual and aspiring entrepreneurs to help them create sustainable livelihoods. The Kickstart Youth Entrepreneurial Programmehas consistently met the desired criteria for such a scheme ever since it was started in 2010.In the subsequent years, it has supported the vigorous launch – that is the “kickstart” – of many businesses for our young people.

Faster development of the small, medium and micro-scale enterprises (SMME) sector in our country is a top priority. The more we see young entrepreneurs starting businesses that making products, or provide services of value, the smaller the number of disappointed and disheartened young people there will be, chasing the employed positionsin limited availability in the economy. In Government, we are therefore greatly encouraged to see this well-publicisedKickstart competition repeated each year, with entries drawn from across the country.

The intensive, broad-spectrum business development training programme, that each of the shortlisted applicantsthen receives,does represent a helpful contribution towards their subsequent success.I am informed that, this year, there were 60 entrants selected for the training, out of 250 applications. At the end of thetwo weeks of training,selecting awardees from the quality of the business plans, individually developed and presented out of the training programme, is an excellent technique. Upgrading their skillsin this manner is of great assistance to Government in improving the ability of aspiring entrepreneurs to secure funding for their respective businesses.

In last year’s competition, I understand there to have been 14 awardees selected from the group that underwent the business development training programme. They were awarded E1.3 million in capital grants towards the development of businesses that ranged from farming to IT, fashion, welding and glasswork, among numerous others. Yet again demonstrating the creative and innovative skills of so many of our young people. This year, we similarly have 14 awardees who will receive grants for the necessary capital expenditure on items such as equipment.

The Kickstart competition is now one of the country’s most prominent entrepreneurship programmes which, in recognition of its perceived value, receives an annual subvention of E2 million from Government. In concept and organization Kickstart represents precisely the kind of catalyst that is valued by Government as a significant contributor towards future economic growth and job creation.

A great deal of information, both to the organisers and to Government, should come out of a competition and support programme such as this. In the first instance, we are keen to know the number of young people who have benefitted. I am informed that, over the seven competitions that Kickstart has so far held, a total of 58 emerging businesses have been supported through capital grants, with mentoring for over 200 young entrepreneurs receiving the business skills training. Kickstart has proudly announced a 70% sustainability rate. We, in Government, find it most encouraging that seven out of the ten entrepreneurs, that have received awards, are still in business and making a reasonable return on their endeavours.

I only have one complaint - and it is certainly not directed at Swaziland Beverages and its KickstartProgramme – and that is that the number of our young people,enjoying training and subsequent financial awards, is woefully short of what we need in the economy.Our youth are the future society of our country. We could use a hundred companies launching similar programmes, although I would mention that the most cost-effective use of resources would simply be to form partnerships, into each of which numerous companies could make a contribution. Let this please be a polite but passionate appeal to our private sector to consider joining the party, so to speak.


The Kickstartprogramme represents one of the key corporate social investment initiatives by Swaziland Beverages and, as such, it is a hugely beneficial one to Swazi society and the Swazi economy. I take this opportunity to thank Swaziland Beverages for its visionary skills and generosity in both starting and sustaining the Kickstartprogramme, as well as the individuals who have organized this year’s competition with its pan-territorial reach. An event like this does not just happen of its own accord. It involves the commitment of a great deal of time and effort. The adjudicators are also to be much appreciated for the contribution of their time, knowledge and experience to making this a very fair and all-embracing competition.

Finally, may I congratulate all the awardees for reaching one of the high spots of their entrepreneurial life, and encourage the competition entrants, who did not make it this far, to keep trying in future years. I give all of you my very best wishes.

Thank you for inviting me.




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