By Mhlengi Magongo | 2019-01-13
Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini on Wednesday reaffirmed its agreement with Youth Enterprise Revolving Fund (YERF) to provide working capital loans to financially under-served Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Eswatini.
This is according to YERF Fund Manager Bhekizwe Maziya, who revealed that the focus is on out of school youth from JA.
“SMEs are am integral to the fabric of our economy contributing a reasonable percentage of our country’s national GDP. The YERF is deeply invested in providing access to credit to small merchants and entrepreneurs through the E7 million from the government, in which we are the ones regulating it.
Our alliance with JA is that we realised the expense of training and mentoring young entrepreneurs, which will limit the money for funding. We can’t risk financing people who have not been trained and monitored,” he said.
Additionally Maziya said individuals have a credit limit of E50 000 while a company has a limit of E100 000, cooperatives will benefit the most as they have a credit limit of E150 000. Maziya also said the interest rate has a prime of 10.5 per cent, which revamps with time, when paying back time plus the prime rate is considered. Prime plus one is at 11.5 per cent while prime plus two stands at 12.5 per cent.
JA Eswatini CEO Siboniso Madlopha on Wednesday said the organisation will ensure the out of school trained entrepreneurs who will receive funds from the YERF are monitored.
He said the organisation will make sure the funds benefit the business and not the individual’s self-interest.
Madlopha, who was speaking during the organisation’s progress presentation at Vulamasango High School, related to multi-billionaire Nathan Kirsh and his delegation that they have introduced financial literacy to the youth and that the organisation has represented the country abroad for more than four times.
The two organisations have an agreement that JA will be heading the youth board training platform, which incudes in school and out of school training programme through this relationship.
The agreement was signed on October 23 in the previous year where both the companies have collaborated to offer working capital loans to SMEs who have been trained by JA.
The partnership will focus more on JA’s out of school trained entrepreneurs,the organisation has been working with the youth to train them on how to manage and run their business. After the training, they join YERF, which assists them in working capital loans to start their businesses.
The organisation’s role will be to ensure the businesses are operating and the working capital is used for the benefit of the business.
Developed in-house by YERF, this product provides the borrower with a credit limit of up to E150 000 for a period of one year, pre-defined on the basis of the information shared by the borrower.
The uniqueness stems from the fact that the borrower can make multiple drawdowns within the approved limit, which is reinstated from time to time upon repayment by the borrower.
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