November 2020

Realising the staggering youth unemployment in the country and within the Blouberg Municipality, a development programme is being implemented to increase and support youth-owned enterprises.  As part of Soutpan Solar Power’s Enterprise Development programme eight local youth businesses have been identified to receive business development support.  This support will take the form of skills training; funding of material and equipment; compliance and registrations; as well as business mentorship. The view is to adopt a holistic approach to development which entails the deployment of funding, business mentorship, building of institutional capacity and possible market access where necessary.

“Our beneficiary communities have over 42% unemployed youth, demonstrating a staggering need for a formalised approach to youth-owned enterprise development, which is the objective of helping these entities to grow and expand,” explained Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for Soutpan Solar Power.

Following a selection process, which included the youth business owners presenting to a panel, the eight companies were announced, across broad sectors, namely crop farming, manufacturing, agro-processing, and poultry farming, amongst others. The sectors focussed are agriculture, services, agro-processing and manufacturing and these sectors are aligned to the resources that the community has available to them.

The programme has targeted the communities within the Blouberg Municipality, including Indermark, Senwabarwana (also known as Bochum), Alldays, and Devrede to successfully identify candidates. To increase efficiency, the programme collaborated with a number of entities to draw on available databases and pertinent information. These included Blouberg Municipality, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Venetia Diamond Mine, Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA), the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Rural Development.

According to Statistics SA there is a 39.2% level of unemployment and a 47.2% level of youth unemployment. These numbers made us realise that there is a lot that we need to do as Soutpan Solar Power to formalise and develop youth-owned enterprises. The project is aiming at identifying the enterprises and supporting them to grow and expand with whatever support they might require, be it training, material and equipment support, compliance, and mentoring.