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South African Youth Development Programmes You Need to Know About

We shine a light on five youth development initiatives that have the ability to change the South African economy and the lives of our youth by giving them the tools and education they need to survive and thrive as entrepreneurs.

South African Youth Development Programmes You Need to Know About

Youth Initiatives

1. YES

YES (Youth Empowerment Service) is one of the first social initiatives between government, business and labour. It was created to give one million youth one million opportunities to succeed, while securing South Africa’s economic prosperity. Over the next three years the YES programme will incentivise businesses for hiring youth and giving them an opportunity that they may never have had before with real work experience and learning.

This initiative is a fresh and bold approach response to our country’s unemployment crisis.

Who can get involved? 

  • Youth
  • Corporates
  • SMME Host
  • Skills Provider

YES already has backing from big businesses like ABSA, Unilever and Investec as well as numerous other businesses.

Watch the YES video:


2. JA Youth Enterprise Development Programme

Junior Achievement (JA) South Africa believes that the youth of South Africa need education and training to boost their careers. This programme is a richly layered educational experience that takes passionate achievers from the ages of 18 to 35 and teaches them to establish their own sustainable business.

The programme lasts for three to four months and students are introduced to a collection of entrepreneurial concepts that will inspire them to build their business with confidence. Students will start their own business in an incubator-style programme while receiving support. They will be introduced to micro-finance institutions as options for funding.

While this programme is both theory and practical, students will be equipped to start their own business and turn it into a thriving reality.

3. National Youth Development Agency

The NYDA is a government grant that supplies funding for youth entrepreneurs in South Africa. The programme will be broadening the scope of the programme to include mentorship and development initiatives.

Youth in South Africa can apply for this grant funding whether their business is formal or informal and in either the startup or development phase. NYDA awards grants to youth-owned businesses that are actively involved in community development and facilitation projects.

4. SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Development Programme

The SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme is dedicated to growing the South African economy with a particular emphasis on youth, women, entrepreneurs with disabilities and entrepreneurs in rural areas. Special attention is paid to a youth entrepreneur who show the potential and commitment to grow a business and create jobs.

The programme is run over two years and entrepreneurs will receive business support, funding and assistance with access to markets.

If you would like to join one of the 150 SAB Foundation Tholoana entrepreneurs, then register your interest in this life-changing programme today. Applications open on 15 August 2018.

5. The Innovation Summit
The Innovation Summit came about because of the lack of progress in the South African tech sector. The idea was to help the tech entrepreneur break into new industries, start-ups, and the private sector while enabling government absorption of new ideas.

This is a great opportunity for tech entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative technologies while being given the chance to engage with business and government. But, this is not all! You will also get the opportunity to network with other people in the tech sector. The Innovation Summit believes that it’s Africa’s time to shine and showcase the great things we are doing.

Who qualifies?

  • Innovators
  • Technology Transfer Offices
  • Corporates launching new products
  • App Developers
  • Universities
  • Students
  • Research institutes


Opportunity Closing Date: 
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Opportunity is closing in 24 days
Opportunities Offered By : 



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