Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has emphasised the importance of supporting young people with business ventures, as they are in a position to lead the search for sustainable solutions.
“In this regard, we are mindful that by supporting youth entrepreneurs in the green economy space, we are also opening up the possibility for them to participate in relevant areas of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and recent developments in the renewable energy sector,” Creecy said on Tuesday.
She was addressing an award ceremony for green entrepreneurs in the Driving Force for Change (DFC) II Youth Challenge at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg.
The DFC II Youth Challenge builds on the 2020 DFC Youth Initiative to create opportunities for young green entrepreneurs/Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to access the much-needed business acumen support (develop early-stage entrepreneurship skills and competencies) and further develop/refine their businesses plans.
“It remains our responsibility to provide our youth with as much support to turn ideas into reality and to create a conducive environment wherein green and sustainable business ventures may contribute in driving our country’s economy forward. Let us continue to support and motivate our youth to do more and achieve more,” the Minister said.
Creecy encouraged young women entrepreneurs to take up green business opportunities being made available through similar initiatives in the future.
“The trend from the first two calls for proposals clearly shows there is indeed an appetite for such initiatives among women, although fewer women than men applied in both rounds of the Initiative,” the Minister said.
Through the DFC II Youth Challenge, 13 youth entrepreneurs, five of whom were women, were provided with a financial incentive and business acumen skills training to support them in developing their respective business ventures.
These start-ups had a range of focus areas, including monitoring municipal water quality, focusing on waste management, and conservation and ecosystem services.
“Central to the approach guiding the Driving Force for Change is an understanding that climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution are putting the future sustainability of our planet in jeopardy,” the Minister said.
The programme aims to identify constructive solutions to what are otherwise overwhelming and existential problems.
“Green and circular economy approaches are recognised as global best practice, and are being integrated into climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies around the world.
“Government’s partnership with the Youth for Change Initiative is an example of how we can build social and economic resilience. We recognise that young people, as the future custodians of our planet, are in a unique position to lead the search for sustainable solutions,” Creecy said.
The Minister launched Driving Force for Change II Youth Challenge in August 2021 in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), through the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Programme, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUZ), and in collaboration with the Departments of Employment and Labour (DEL) and of Small Business Development (DSBD) and with support from the National Business Initiative (NBI).
Source: South African Government News Agency