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Young agricultural entrepreneur programme launches in KZN

Home Agriculture Young agricultural entrepreneur programme launches in KZN

METROPOLITAN Collective Shapers, a leading youth empowerment initiative, has announced the launch of its impactful programme in KwaZulu-Natal. The initiative, established in 2021, is designed to equip young entrepreneurs with relevant skills and resources to help participants scale their businesses, create employment within their communities and build a network and facilitate market access for their businesses.

Following successful launches in Polokwane and Tshwane, the KZN instalment is tailored to meet the unique needs of the region’s vibrant agricultural sector.

Sowing seeds of success

Agriculture is a cornerstone of KZN’s economy, providing numerous opportunities for innovation and growth. However, young entrepreneurs often face barriers to entry, such as limited access to resources, training, and market opportunities. The Metropolitan Collective Shapers seeks to address these challenges by offering a comprehensive support system for entrepreneurs in this sector.

“Metropolitan’s Collective Shapers philosophy is built around a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ approach, which fosters self-sufficiency and innovation, whilst being supported by experts” says Phumla Mavundla, head of marketing: product and channel at Metropolitan. “With youth unemployment alarmingly high, our initiative in KZN’s agricultural sector aims to leverage the province’s rich resources and young talent to spur economic growth and build sustainable and resilient communities.”

Beyond insurance products and partnering with South Africans on the journey to financial progress, Metropolitan is committed to people and making a real impact in communities. As part of the programme, Metropolitan will also host a virtual Masterclass, accessible to youth entrepreneurs from across the country.

Programme details

Participants will benefit from bespoke training modules that address soft skills as well as specific sector nuances and needs of the local agriculture industry. Additionally, they will have access to experienced business mentors who provide continuous guidance throughout the programme. Top-performing businesses will receive business cash injections, providing crucial financial support to help scale their operations. Furthermore, it offers market access opportunities, connecting participants to essential networks that facilitate business growth and sustainability.

Application process

To participate in the Metropolitan Collective Shapers programme, applicants should be between the ages of 18 and 35 and should permanently reside in South Africa. The initiative seeks youth-owned businesses that are 100% South African, prioritising those that are historically disadvantaged, including people living with disabilities.
Businesses must have been operating for at least 12 months within the formal or informal agriculture sector in KZN, with the director fully dedicated to the business. Importantly, the business needs to be an established entity, serving as the main venture for the applicant rather than a part-time endeavour.

Previous successes and future outlook

The Metropolitan Collective Shapers programme has already made a significant impact in Polokwane and Tshwane, helping young entrepreneurs in farming and the food and hospitality industries to reach new business heights.

Speaking about the programme, Benjamin Nkanyane, who runs Davhuha Farming Enterprises and participated in 2021, shared his experience: “Metropolitan Collective Shapers took me out of my comfort zone and reignited my passion for farming. I have learned to think strategically about expanding my business, which now operates on a 3-hectare farm, produces over 45,000 heads of vegetables, employs 15 farm workers, and supplies a school feeding scheme.”

Metropolitan has partnered with experts in entrepreneurship and agriculture to support more youth. This year, it continues its collaboration with Uber to provide disadvantaged young job seekers with Uber vouchers, ensuring they can attend job interviews and access employment opportunities.

Applications are open until 30 June 2024.

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