R10 million Mabhida Youth-Owned Cooperatives Fund during International Cooperatives Month

As the world celebrates International Cooperatives Month, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has demonstrated its commitment towards supporting cooperatives by setting aside R10 million grant finance for youth-owned cooperatives, particularly those in rural areas.
On 1 August 2013 young people will be able to walk into any NYDA branch across the country and apply for the grant. The initiative is targeted atyoung aspiring and established cooperatives (who require the grant for business start-up or growth), between the ages of 18 to 35 years, it’s bias is to rural areas and must be a South African.
A business plan will have to be submitted (if the young person does not have a business plan the NYDA’s staff will guide them through it).
This year International Cooperatives Month is being celebrated under the theme, Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis. The theme links to the global economic crisis and how cooperatives have proved to be resilient to the effects of the crisis compared to other forms of enterprises.
Recognised world-wide for alleviating poverty and unemployment, particularly in rural areas, a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic and social needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. Cooperative principles include; voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, autonomy and concern for community.
According to NYDA Executive Chairperson, Yershen Pillay, the NYDA will use Cooperatives Month to provide information, training and support for youth-owned cooperatives. “We will intensify our support for youth-owned cooperatives working together with other state entities and the private sector. Cooperatives provide a vehicle for reorganizing our economy and their contribution to socio-economic development is invaluable. We can do so much for poverty alleviation, job creation and social integration if we focus on growing our cooperatives economy and encouraging more young South Africans to establish cooperatives,” Pillay indicated.
Pillay added that as part of the NYDA’s plans to support cooperatives, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed with the Limpopo Department of Agriculture (LDA) on the 11th of July 2013. “The co-operation is based on the need to introduce youth into agricultural production in order to empower them economically, stimulate local economic growth and contribute towards job creation using cooperatives as their main vehicle.” he says.
In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry through its Cooperative Incentive Scheme and the NYDA through its Mabhida Youth-Owned Cooperatives Fund have partnered to assist 10 youth cooperatives comprising of 100 young people to setup fish and chips cooperatives across the country. “More of these initiatives are required to assist the development of youth-owned cooperatives,” said Pillay.
Besides funding, the NYDA supports aspiring and established youth-owned cooperatives with information, training, mentorship and market linkages. Since inception the NYDA has provided funding to the value of R9 095 599 to cooperatives and non-financial business support services to 138 cooperatives. ”Cooperatives can be used as vehicle for income generation and collective action,”

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