Young entrepreneurs helping to create jobs

Thabang Mabel Leeuw is among the 1 000 entrepreneurs who received support from the NYDA last year, within 100 days of the SONA.
Thabang Mabel Leeuw is among the 1 000 entrepreneurs who received support from the NYDA last year, within 100 days of the SONA.
Image: Supplied.

Young people are being helped to start their own businesses so that a generation of entrepreneurs and job providers can be created. 

Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says three years from now, youth unemployment should no longer be a talking point in South Africa.

Her department and its agencies have been tasked with supporting at least 15 000 small businesses by the year 2024.

“By 2024, we should no longer be referring to a high youth unemployment rate in South Africa; rather, we should be talking about the high economic participation of young people because, unlike our parents who were trained to be job seekers, we have the responsibility to train and support job creators,” says the Minister.

She recently provided a progress report on her department’s efforts to support the commitment made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) to assist 1 000 small, medium and micro enterprises and co-operatives within 100 days. 

The Minister says the delay in providing feedback was as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She commended the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for supporting start-up businesses owned by young people, especially in industries such as construction, marketing, car repair services, poultry farming, health and beauty, fashion, event management and catering. 

However, she challenged all funding agencies to also champion ‘high-risk businesses’ that operate in a more innovative space.

“We need to be bold enough when providing support to young people and allow them to experiment,” says Minister Ntshavheni.

Entrepreneur receives support

Thanbang Mabel Leeuw (21) from the Free State is among the 1 000 entrepreneurs who received support from the NYDA last year, within 100 days of the SONA. 

She owns @SCENTS (Pty) Ltd, which manufactures and distributes perfumes and cosmetic products. 

Leeuw realised her passion for cosmetics in 2016 when, as an agricultural student at the University of the Free State, she sold perfume to generate extra income. This sideline hustle sparked her dream of creating her own cosmetics range and in 2018, she did a six-month cosmetics manufacturing course in Cape Town. The following year, she launched @SCENTS.  

Leeuw participated in the Tabalaza youth development programme in 2019, hosted by the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development; Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and won third prize.

She used the money to increase production and improve her branding. 

“The department also assisted me with R156 000 in COVID-19 relief funding, which helped sustain the business during the strict lockdown and paid the wages of five permanent employees and one seasonal worker,” she says. 

The NYDA also gave her R49 000 in grant funding in 2020 to help her open a store. “I wanted to open a shop, so I used the money to buy shop fittings, equipment and stock. The demand for my products started increasing as a result,” she says.  

The company also distributes its products through agents in Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Welkom, Kimberley and Botshabelo. It sells to hotels and guesthouses as well.   

To get hold of @SCENTS contact 065247952 or

Did you know? That the NYDA offers assistance to young entrepreneurs. For more information on services offered by the NYDA call 0800 52 52 52 or visit

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.