“Ikhono Leads Corporates & Government at Seminar to address Youth Employability”
28 June 2019, Durban – Scores of young people from across the province of KwaZulu-Natal braved the cold winter mornings and converged at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban to participate in the Ikhono Foundation Youth Seminar.
The seminar was led by Ikhono Foundation in partnership with the KZN Provincial Government, Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Olive Convention Centre.
Ikhono Foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing support and intervention mechanisms that seek to empower women and youth in areas of education, skills development, entrepreneurship and financial literacy with a key focus on rural areas.
Topics that defined the programme included soft skills, work readiness, business incubation programmes, government opportunities for employment and enterprise development, graduate programmes, business funding options and entrepreneurship.
The programme had four panel discussions categorized into government, youth support programmes, corporates and entrepreneurs. Panels included representatives from KZN EDTEA, Moses Kotane Institute, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Ithala, Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal; Ethekwini Municipality, ABSA, Unilever, SAPREF, Shanduka Black Umbrellas, Southern African Shipyards Transnet as well as dynamic business owners.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) Head of Department Siza Sibande encouraged youth to pursue careers in agriculture.
“KwaZulu-Natal has room for growth in the agricultural sector and we need young people to take advantage of opportunities within the industry especially in commercial farming where the province still under-produces fruit. We have partnered with various business sectors like Old Mutual to provide support for young people” he said.
Ikhono Foundation Chairperson Zodwa Msimang spoke about the objective of the seminar.
“The idea was to gather the private sector, youth-focused government entities and all other relevant stakeholders to really share their employment and enterprise development opportunities and programmes with the youth on single platform. That objective has been achieved and I am proud to see how eager young people are for these opportunities” she said.
Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Chief Marketing Officer Taweni Gondwe emphasised the importance of developing resilience as a young person.
“As a young person you develop resilience by learning fast, falling fast and getting up even faster. It is also important to realize that you never stop learning. Being here has been an eye opening experience even for myself” she said.
Absa’s Head of Business & Personal Banking Tozi Mthethwa spoke about the issue of young people who are unable to access business funding due to historical debt.
“With enterprise development we assess the reasons why you were on credit bureau in the first place. There are cases where we are able to wave that flagging by the credit bureau. The government has set aside R70 million for the Youth Fund and we as Absa are going to top up that fund so if you want to buy a franchise and if the franchisor wants 10% collateral for example, government can give you the funds. Bring us your business plans” she said.
Young people who attended the seminar found the information shared to be insightful.
“I am so glad that I attended this seminar. I really enjoyed the panel with entrepreneurs and was inspired to look into opportunities in the tech industry” said University of KwaZulu Natal student Phindile Mayeza.
“This has been such a great platform for learning. I believe that a few years down the line there will be young people who will create innovative business solutions that would’ve attended this seminar” said matriculant at Adams College Ntokozo Mkhize.