By Daniel Mpala
Thanks to a R38 000 grant from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) her company received last year, Nathi Lena has been able to grow sales at her marketing business by 15% to 20%.
Lena (pictured above) runs Port Elizabeth based Clockworks Branding which provides graphic and web design services and branded marketing material like t-shirts, signage and banners.
She says she applied in April last year for a grant from the NYDA to buy a heat press and vinyl cutter.
The agency supports young SA entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 35 years.
The NYDA Grant programme is open to South Africans between the ages of 18 to 35 years
“In less than a month they called me in for an assessment and to book a date for a site visit at my office.
“Head office took about a month or two to make payment for the equipment I requested. It was actually very quick considering they deal with applicants such as myself nationally,” adds Lena.
She says the equipment has enabled her to print t-shirts in-house, instead of outsourcing this to a service provider like she’d been accustomed to doing.
Her business currently employs two full-time staff as well as two other part-time employees.
Besides the grant, the NYDA also helped her identify areas of her business that she hadn’t previously been paying attention to.
The entrepreneur is one of over 21 000 beneficiaries that the NYDA has supported with grants since the agency was launched 10 years ago.
Up to R250 000 in funding
In a recent booklet (opens as PDF), the organisation says it provides grants that range from R1000 to R200 000 (or up to R250 000) for agriculture and technology related projects).
In addition, the NYDA also provides partial funding, or funding towards a deposit for a loan from another lending establishment.
The organisation allows offers mentorship, business consultancy services, market linkages and business management training.
Those looking to apply for the programme must also prove that they attended a business management training course. Part of the application process includes a 10-minute business pitch which applicants can do in person or over the phone.
Once shortlisted, the NYDA will carry out a due diligence assessment on an applicant’s business before the agency can determine whether the entrepreneur will receive the grant or not.
Featured image: Clockworks Branding founder Nathi Lena (NYDARSA via Twitter)