MTN Foundation has added E100 000 more in the MTN-Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF) Khula Natsi Loan Program.
This brings the total of the MTN-YERF Khula Natsi revolving fund to E200 000.
The aim of the fund is to provide working capital for business startups as well as business expansion to young people.
YERF Chief Executive Officer Bhekizwe Maziya deeply thanked MTN for extending the sponsorship of the program.
“The continued sponsorship by MTN Foundation will go a long way to increase our capacity to provide entrepreneurship amongst the youth and ultimately create employment opportunities for other young people,” he said.
Maziya said the initial sponsorship by MTN Foundation has begun to yield the positive fruits desired not only by the Foundation and Youth Fund, but by Government as well.
From the initial sponsorship of E100 000 by MTN Foundation, he said four businesses were funded up to the tune of E52 000 in total. They are already running their businesses and have created nine employment opportunities.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected beneficiaries under the MTN-YERF Khula Natsi program, Maziya said it is encouraging that the beneficiaries have started repaying their loans.
“We have hope that eventually, the businesses will be able to repay their loans in full, because they are now starting to show potential for growth and expansion,” he said.
MTN Foundation Board Chairperson Busisiwe Simelane further announced that they have increased the MTN-YERF Khula Natsi funding threshold from E14 000 to E20 000.
She said this was in response to a recommendation by the YERF to increase the loan limit to encourage more business lines that require high capital amounts than the previous E14 0000 threshold to apply for the MTN-YERF funding.
Simelane said they are cognizant of the fact that, start-ups play a key role in the economy, but the COVID-19 crisis is reducing their creation, challenging their survival, and limiting their growth, because they are more vulnerable than older incumbents are to the shock brought by the pandemic.
“Therefore, this is our contribution to ensure that start-ups continue to emerge as key drivers of economic growth and job creation, and often a catalyst for radical innovation. The youth is the future of this country, by investing in them; we are contributing to the country’s development and creating a self-sufficient society,” she said.
The call for loan applications under the MTN-YERF Khula Natsi program opened yesterday and will close on November 30, 2020.
Application forms will be available at the YERF offices, YERF website and social media platforms, MTN Eswatini social media platforms, and Eswatini National Youth Council (ENYC).