NYC launches NextGen facility for young entrepreneurs

Home Youth Corner NYC launches NextGen facility for young entrepreneurs
NYC launches NextGen facility for young entrepreneurs

To unlock the potential of young entrepreneurs in the country and catalyse the growth of their vibrant, innovative enterprises across various sectors, the National Youth Council (NYC) launched the NextGen facility. 

The NextGen facility is a collaboration between the council and Bellatrix Investment Managers, which aims to provide collateral-free business finance to approximately 30 young entrepreneurs.

Eligible applicants, who are either in the ideation phase of enterprises with strong business cases, or those with existing businesses requiring support to improve their growth trajectories, will receive funding ranging from N$50 000 to N$100 000 over a term of three years.

“Our hope is to equip young entrepreneurs with the tools – financial and otherwise – necessary to turn business ideas and dreams into sustainable, successful enterprises that respond to consumer problems, while creating employment and contributing to socio-economic growth,” said Sharonice Busch, the council’s executive chairperson, during the launch this week.

In Namibia, much like in all developing economies, micro, small  and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a crucial role in socioeconomic development. 

Busch said the NextGen facility will be a stepping stone toward addressing unemployment, empowering MSMEs and ultimately contribute to socioeconomic growth. The facility replaces the Credit for Youth in Business Programme (CYB), an NYC programme that ran from 2008 to 2020. 

It is the culmination of two years of contemplating the successes and shortcomings of the CYB programme, said Busch. “One challenge was the size of the loans previously given to entrepreneurs, which ranged from N$3 000 to N$6 000. We questioned whether this was enough to set up a sustainable enterprise. Previously, NYC only provided financial assistance, but we realised that it wasn’t sufficient to help young people without additional support to establish a sustainable enterprise and the capacity to produce proper reports when accounting for the funds,” said Busch.

Also speaking at the event, NYC acting director Sircca Nghitila said many aspiring young entrepreneurs encounter significant obstacles, particularly in securing the necessary capital to launch and sustain their ventures.

“Limited financial security, inadequate collateral and a perceived lack of credibility due to limited experience are significant hurdles that can impede their progress,” she said. Entrepreneurs in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, community-based and sustainable tourism, renewable energy innovation and energy efficiency, natural resource value chains, efficient use of natural resources and waste management/recycling, will be prioritised.  Applications from other sectors will also be considered, based on merit.

Additionally, eligibility criteria include Namibian and locally based youth aged 18 to 35, with either an existing business or a well-developed business idea with growth potential and a willingness to participate in entrepreneurship development and mentorship programmes. 

Applicants will also need to complete a three-month incubation programme free of charge.

“This programme will help validate business
concepts, teach essential business principles and assist in developing a comprehensive business plan, which will be part of their application to the facility,” said Nghitila.

The call for applications will begin in July, with the awarding of financing set for October.