FNB and Fetola issue call for second cohort of youth accelerators

  • Fetola and FNB partner up once more to host the second Youth Start-up Accelerator.
  • Once again, the pair hope to reach as many as 100 startups owned and operated by South African youngsters.
  • Interested startups or those with big ideas have until 2nd June to submit an entry for the accelerator.

Entries for the second year of FNB’s Youth Start-up Accelerator (YSA) programme in partnership with Fetola have just opened.

The first cohort from the accelerator was named in 2022 and saw participants learning foundational business skills, participate in mentorship and receive investment readiness support.

The accelerator seeks to help young people between the ages of 18 and 35 not only build a business, but make sure that it thrives and grows.

“In a persistently difficult macroeconomic environment, the most potentially impactful approach is to create an ecosystem that is supportive of young entrepreneurs. There is no shortage of talent or ideas among our youth. But South Africa still has a long way to go before we have an ecosystem that promotes entrepreneurship at a national scale. The YSA programme aims to streamline the pathway from idea to execution and support entrepreneurship as well as entrepreneurs. This programme addresses some of the biggest barriers facing young entrepreneurs: a lack of key business skills, access to mentors and the opportunity to test out their business ideas,” explains SME development head at FNB, Heather Lowe.

The accelerator reaches as many as 100 youngsters, and in its first year it helped 24 more businesses generate revenue. As many as 93 percent of participants reported good or excellent self-confidence at the end compared to 74 percent at the start of the programme.

Most importantly, the accelerator helps to drive job creation in an era where youth unemployment is at its highest.

“Youth unemployment is not just an economic crisis, it is a social and personal one. Persistent unemployment can be frustrating and demoralising. We want to demonstrate, through this programme, that finding a job is not the only way to achieve economic participation and success. Entrepreneurial activity is highest amongst people aged 25 to 35, indicating that this is a critical age group to target with interventions. We want to inspire our youth to dream of a better future, and to equip them with the skills that will help them build a better South Africa,” programme manager at Fetola, Busisiwe Bebeza said in a statement.

Those interested in participating in this accelerator have until 2nd June to make a submission over on Fetola’s website.

To enter to be a part of the accelerator, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be between 18 and 35 years old.
  • Have a business that is at least 51% black-owned, younger than six months, and with an annual turnover not exceeding R1m,
  • OR you are an individual with a unique idea for a business

If that sounds like you or your business, head to this URL to make a submission.

“Being part of the programme has lifted my confidence. As a start-up I feared rejection. I couldn’t handle negative comments. Going out to make sales was a huge challenge for me: if consumers didn’t buy, I would be extremely discouraged. The YSA programme taught us how to deal with challenges and to not be too hard on ourselves. The workshops were a huge motivation. The programme has taught me a lot about entrepreneurship. I learnt how to scale my business to avoid failure and become more consistent in terms of production. I encourage everyone joining the programme this year to participate in all activities and workshops, and to be honest with yourself about your strengths and gaps in your knowledge,” said founder of cleaning product maker ChemKhowa, Cindy Mkhwanazi.


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