Nafcoc revives youth chamber in Bay
The youth chamber of Nafcoc in Nelson Mandela Bay concluded Youth Month by electing a new executive, and said its main focus would be on unifying young black business owners in the region.
Bonga Mnwana, the newly elected secretary-general of Nafcoc, acknowledged the uneasy road ahead for the team as the youth chamber has not been operational for close to 10 years in the Bay.
“But that in itself can be a good thing as we can now build a youth chamber that speaks directly to youth businesses and not inherit structures and policies that did not work,” Mnwana said.
“With this said, we will still be guided by the Nafcoc constitution on all policies and structures that we intend to build.”
He said the youth in general had the same challenges, namely a lack of access to markets, unemployment, capital funding and scarcity of platforms that speak to key youth challenges.
“Our aim is to remove the red tape for youth entrepreneurs. We can only do this by close collaborations and partnerships from corporates, state owned entities and government departments.”
The executive chair, Xhanti Shai, said among the main objectives was to be an accountable body that focuses on the development of young entrepreneurs, to assist them with access to markets, resources and information within efficient time frames.
“We are the voice of young entrepreneurs in the region, we invite and welcome all young entrepreneurs, irrespective of gender, race, disability or political affiliation, to come and join us in creating a body that advances the interests of young entrepreneurs in the region.”
Shai said the last executive was in place before 2013 and the issues of young entrepreneurs have not been attended to since.
“Our focus now is to consolidate a solid youth chamber and we are going to be engaging and consulting young entrepreneurs and stakeholders to source their input on challenges and how we can assist to create a conducive business environment,” Shai said.
The active board of executives includes deputy chair Sandile Mjamba, deputy secretary-general Yandani Mdolomba, treasurer Ncumisa Nodaka and two additional executive members, Mvuzo Danster and Amanda Tyelo.
Mwana said they also established “Youth Fridays”, an initiative in which the chamber would dedicate Fridays to help start-up businesses at no additional fee.
“We have realised that small businesses often miss opportunities because of lack of compliance.
“The aim is to first make sure youth businesses are compliant while we seek to open opportunities for them.
“Corporates and SOEs often can’t help small businesses due to this compliance issues. We are therefore killing two birds with one stone,” Mwana said.
He said they were setting up meetings with the likes of the National Youth Development Agency and the Small Enterprise Development Agency to find what challenges they face when they receive applications from youth-headed businesses.
They have also started a monthly newsletter in July to help keep all stakeholders informed.
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