Grant for employment creation through small and medium scale enterprise development in Free State, 2011

Project: Employment creation through small and medium scale enterprise development in Free State

Partner: International Labour Organisation

Duration: 2011-2014

Budget: 4.500.000 euro

Free State Province is faced with an alarming unemployment rate, especially among young people. Many young people try their fortune as entrepreneur, but often lack the necessary skills and support to make their small businesses profitable. With this programme the provincial authorities want to remedy this problem.

The programme wants to contribute to the creation of decent employment for the historically disadvantaged population of Free State Province.

Action is taken on four levels:

  • Work will be done to nurture a stronger culture of entrepreneurship among the target group. To this end, awareness and promotion campaigns will be set up to highlight the importance of enterprise. In addition, a training programme will be developed to enhance entrepreneurial skills in women and young people.
  • At the level of the policy and the regulatory framework, the programme will work on a more coherent provincial and municipal policy on SME development. Therefore, support will be given with regard to SME development to provincial and municipal bodies involved in policy preparation and implementation. Activities will also be organised to foster synergy between the different SME development initiatives.
  • As for the supporting services, the programme will provide guidance to organisations that deliver services to small and medium-sized enterprises. This will improve service provision to SMEs, not just in terms of financial services, but also with regard to sector-specific training and advice. For the provision of financial credit, the Free State Development Corporation, which is the provincial SME development agency, will be closely cooperated with.
  • Among starting and young entrepreneurs the active use of and the demand for financial and other supporting services will be promoted.

With this programme the provincial authorities hope to be able to create sustainable employment for at least 5,000 young people in no less than 1,000 small businesses. Attention will be devoted to HIV/AIDS at the workplace and to the promotion of green jobs.

The programme primarily focuses on the sectors of agriculture (processing), tourism, construction and services and will start in two municipalities, namely Mangaung and Matjhabeng.