Fund gives youth hope

The Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) promotes entrepreneurship among young people, including women, by providing finance.

Loans range from R100000 to R5000000 and must be repaid within 60 months. But you must be between 18 and 35 years old to qualify.

Entrepreneurs can use UYF loans to start, expand or buy businesses. You can also use a loan to start a new business.

The fund provides financing through bodies such as the SME Fund, the UYF-Business Partners Franchise Fund and the FNB Progress Fund.

To qualify for this funding you must be young or a woman and own more than a quarter of the company. Only permanent residents of South Africa from a previously disadvantaged background qualify.

The UYF will ensure that you are deeply involved in operating the business, that you are committed to the venture and that it is economically viable. Small and medium businesses, franchises, general businesses and public-private partnerships qualify for different types of loans.

Small and medium ventures qualify for loans ranging from R100000 to R5000000, but franchises are limited to financial assistance of between R150000 and R300000.

The FNB Progress Fund grants loans ranging from R100000 to R800000 to all types of businesses.

The UYF also grants micro-loans to black South Africans who are between 18 and 35 years old and to black women of any age.

The financing is structured according to the amount requested, affordability and the type of finance required.

Different conditions apply to working capital, start-up finance and asset finance.

Before the funds are given you must produce proof of residence.

You will then complete an application form and submit it with your business plan.

Loan officers are available at UYF branches to help you fill in the forms. But you can also apply for a micro-loan on line by filling in a self-explanatory form.

l For more information contact the Umsobomvu Youth Fund at PO Box 982, Halfway House 1685. The main office is at Block P, Central Park, 16th Road, Midrand, or visit For more information on financing for franchises visit, and on the FNB Progress Fund e-mail