This is an excerpt from his speech.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the youth empowerment portfolio of work has been elevated and firmly given the status it deserves; in that it is now located in the Office of the Premier under the leadership of the DG. Among the key priorities of the portfolio for this financial year is providing support to youth owned enterprises through the Isiqalo Youth Fund.

We have a budget of R34 million that we must disburse to support business initiatives of young people so that they can grow their business and create more jobs for our people. Very soon, the Department will issue expression of interest communication inviting

young people to apply for funding and the criteria to get funding.

I have instructed officials not to put stringent rules in the application forms that we often see in Banks, as that would exclude many of the young people we want to reach with this fund. Having said that, the businesses we support must be registered with the

statutory bodies in our country such as SARS. The Isiqalo Youth Fund will add to a series of youth development initiatives planned for 2021/22, some of which commenced in the previous financial year.

These include but not limited to:

• The Digital Skills Development Programme

• Youth-in-Agriculture Programme and

• Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme: Food Kiosk Project

We also intend to broaden the beneficiation of our young people on the skills programmes that are implemented by various SETAs in our province. Our agreements with SETAs will directly result in the training of more than 500 youth in the 2021 financial year.

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