The over six months waiting period for the youth fund loan applicants is over and it was worth it as the Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund has finally dished out E2.8 million loans to 49 young entrepreneurs all over the country. This announcement was made by YERF Chief Executive Officer Bhekizwe Maziya. The 49 businesses will immediately create over 120 jobs and the figure is expected to grow as the businesses expand. Most of the successful
applicants are sole traders as they made a total number of 26 applicants, constituting 53% of the overall number of successful applicants. Only 22 companies were awarded loans, which is 45% of the total, and only one cooperative
benefited, constituting 2%. In terms of sectors, both the technology and agriculture sectors dominated in the loan applications as they both amassed 31% with 15 applicants respectively. The retail and manufacturing sectors came second on the charts as they constituted 16 % respectively. Only eight were successfully awarded the loans from
each of the two sectors and the least sector to be recorded was the construction sector, which made only 6% of the overall successful applicants. Maziya said capacity building, coaching and mentorship would be provided to all the
loan beneficiaries to ensure sustainability of the businesses and repayment of the loans. “We also continue to strengthen partnerships with key stakeholders involved in capacity building. We have already signed MOUs with SEDCO, Junior Achievement, ENACTUS, and Eswatini Agricultural Development Enterprises,” he said. Of the 49 successful applicants, it is worth noting that 22, the majority, of them came from the Manzini region with 22
applicants; Hhohho contributed 12 applicants. Shiselweni and Lubombo had only eight applicants and seven respectively.
…new loan applications in April
The Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund has announced that the second period for loan applications will be opened on 1 April. The second application period is expected to run till the end of April, and the Fund has encouraged all the young people who are willing to venture or propel their businesses to greater heights to try their luck and apply. The Fund’s Chief Executive Officer Bhekizwe Maziya said even those who didn’t make it earlier were welcome to try for the second time. Maziya assured the youth that due diligence would be done to make sure that applications that meet the required standards make it to the final phase. In the same vein, the Swaziland Industrial Development Corporation (SIDC) has made it clear that it will continue supporting youth who are vying for any viable businesses as this will benefit the country in the long run. Currently, SIDC is the YERF’s intermediary, which means the organization plays a crucial role when it comes to the evaluation of the loan applications and checking for financial viability of the applicants’ businesses.