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Inkunzi Isematholeni Youth in Business



As KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial development agency, Ithala has taken cognisance of the need to promote a spirit of entrepreneurship by encouraging innovative business thinking amongst the unemployed youth and to focus on and identify new concepts through the Inkunz’isematholeni project. The two winning business plans that were selected in the 2014/15 programme are testimony to Ithala’s commitment to enabling entrepreneurial dreams.

Since the 2008 recession, the youth unemployment rate has been consistently higher than that of adults, by more than 20%. While young adults make up between 52% to 64% of the working population, they account for only 42% to 49% of the employed.

Against this backdrop Ithala’s Inkunzi’sematholeni Youth in Business Competition is an initiative which has begun to address innovative business thinking among unemployed youth in terms of focusing on, and identifying, new concepts in the knowledge and green economies.
Ithala’s Research unit provided an analysis of macro-economic trends covering the key industry sectors in the province, which highlighted a new and exciting focus on the Knowledge and Green economic sectors.

The development and enhancement of the knowledge economy is one of the key strategic goals of the KZN provincial government, whilst the growth of the Green economy is line with government’s agenda to encourage and support the youth to come up with innovative ideas within this economic sector.


This year, the Inkunzi’sematholeni competition received a total of 198 entries against 132 which were received in 2017, a 50% improvement on the previous year’s entries.

The shortlisted finalists then went through a 5 day Business Development workshop, sponsored by Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The workshop assisted the finalists in identifying gaps in their business concepts and finding a solution to those gaps. In addition the workshop also focused on important business related matters such as writing of business plans, IP protection, market research, financial management and entrepreneurship.

Ithala is currently assisting the winners to turn their creative concepts into fully operational businesses by providing start-up capital and the necessary business support to help them launch, manage and run their businesses successfully.
Ultimately, the objective is to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their creative concepts into fully operational businesses by providing start-up capital and the necessary business support to help them launch, manage and run their businesses successfully.

The programme is committed to assisting with the following critical business elements:
  • Business-related advisory support
  • Feasibility study
  • Business plan development
  • Funding of the winning business idea
  • Engagement with other stakeholders to garner further investment in the winning business operation

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