Fetola and FNB partner up to launch Youth Start-up Accelerator Programme, entries open

South Africa has a jobs crisis on its hands and while that may not come as a surprise it should be a concern.

In its Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2021, Stats SA found that the number of employed South Africans fell by 660 000 to 14.3 million when comparing these figures to the second quarter of 2021.

In a bid to address the crisis and empower startups created by young people, Fetola and FNB have set up the Youth Start-up Accelerator Programme.

“Unemployment, and youth unemployment, remains a major challenge. We don’t pretend to be able to solve the problem, but we are looking to be pivotal in implementing models that can hopefully be scaled, from which we can learn, and which will provide a cohort of entrants with tangible support and resources that will hopefully empower them as entrepreneurs and eventually as job creators,” explains head of enterprise development at FNB, Heather Lowe.

The programme will be managed by Fetola and will be made up of two six-month phases.

The first phase will take place through online workshops and will see 100 entrants being guided through the process of leadership and confidence building, identifying and refining opportunities, and developing a practical understanding of how to grow a business.

The second phase will bring this group of 100 down to 50 based on how well entrants showcased that their business has promise.

“Even those who do not progress to that stage will learn valuable skills that will serve them whether they continue as entrepreneurs or enter the job market,” adds Lowe.

During the second phase participants will be involved in mentorship, shadowing opportunities at Fetola’s alumni businesses, as well as networking opportunities. Participants in phase two will also have the opportunity to pitch for additional funding.

What we find interesting is that Fetola has committed to offering resources to all participants through its ecosystem partners, even if participants don’t make it past the first phase.

“We’re looking for this programme to be inspirational and a beacon of hope,” explains Busisiwe Bebeza, Programme Manager at Fetola.

“We want our youth to see entrepreneurship as a genuine avenue to pursue instead of looking for a job. We hope to spark something that could change the trajectory of not just individuals, but families and communities. As a country we are desperately in need of hope, and this need is most acutely felt amongst the youth. We want them to begin to feel a bit of control over their futures.”

The accelerator is currently accepting submissions and will be until 18th March. Applicants will need to be between the ages of 18 and 35, operate a business that is at least 51 percent black-owned, is younger than six months and has an annual turnover that doesn’t exceed R1 million.

Applicants with a unique business idea are also encouraged to apply.

FNB notes that preference will be given to applicants who live in townships, rural or peri-urban areas as well as those between the ages of 18 and 25.

Applications for the Youth Start-up Accelerator can be submitted here.


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