The Motheo TVET College campus in Bloemfontein has become a catalyst for growth of emerging entrepreneurs following the launch of a Rapid Incubator for youth to start up a business. Deputy Minister of Small Business Development Nomathemba November launched this fully-fledged business hub on 15 September. It is strategically designed to provide support mechanisms for embedding continuous innovative and preparing multifaceted entrepreneurs so they become main players to create job opportunities and build a stronger economy to change South Africa’s bleak socio-economic situation. The rapid incubation is an initiative of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) in partnership with the Department of Small Business development (DSBD), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Its chief objective is to encourage and promote an entrepreneurship culture by providing selected TVET college graduates – mainly youth with the necessary tools and techniques – to start their own small businesses. The initiative comes at the height that South Africa’s youth unemployment statistics at 55,9%, is the third highest globally, according to Stats SA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey latest finding. Lame Morubane, spokesperson of the Motheo College, said the agency Seda forked out R4 million towards setting up the hub and covering other costs. “Altogether R1,3 million was spent on renovation of a dilapidated building. The other part of the money was spent to purchase equipment and cover operation costs as well as registration of incubates as business and mentoring. “A whooping R400 000 has been set aside as incentive for the two incubates that will be chosen as the best performing of the enlisted entrepreneurs at the end of the 18 months programme. The money will be a start up for the selected two best incubates,” said Morubane. A group of 11 youths are in the programme – most of them are successful graduates of the institution. Enlisted entrepreneurs boast skills ranging from welding, clothes designers and jewellery making as well as graphic designers. Among them are Boniswa Sithole, jewellery maker, Onele Tamba and Dibolelo Ledibane, both clothes designers.Boniswa, who has a National Diploma in Jewellery Design and Manufacture, expressed joy being among the chosen few entrepreneurs. She specialises in producing silver and colourful beads accessories. “It is a golden opportunity for me to realise my dream to produce proudly South African products and contribute towards job creation. It is my wish to at least hire one jewellery marker within the 12 months of the 18 months period of my stay here that will measure success of my business. Production is a determining factor in one’s ambitions to growing his or her business. “Mine shows potential because I already am able to provide for myself and my other sibling who’s also studying at a tertiary institution, relieving my single mother of some financial burdens,” said Boniswa.