The Youth Challenge Fund (YCF) is a youth start-up support programme intended to stimulate the establishment and growth of youth-owned businesses, promote digital skills,

grow the economy and foster job creation.

Eligibility criteria

In line with National Youth Policy, the YCF will be providing support to youth start-up businesses/enterprises that meet the following criteria:

  • Are between the age of 18 to 35 years.
  • Registered with CIPC and be prepared to register with SARS & UIF.
  • 100% South African owned.
  • Are adequately involved in the day-to-day operation and management of the business with at least one or more of the members being full-time employees of the company, especially the majority shareholder or essential personnel/applicant.
  • Prepared to participate in Business Development Support and mentorship (pre and post).
  • Commercially viable, sustainable and feasible business idea.


The following transactions will NOT be considered:

  • Funding towards a debt owed by the applicant with another lending institution.
  • Activities that have already been funded by other government departments or parastatals.
  • Government and SOE officials are excluded.
  • Fall within the gambling, pyramid sales schemes, loan shark and operating illegal activities etc., as guided by credit policy and grant policies.
  • Have a record of fraud and corruption.
  • Where the owner/applicant is an un-rehabilitated insolvent.

Additional information

  • Funding queries can be directed to YCF Hotline on 012 748 9600 or email: helpline@sefa.org.za
  • Upon receipt of the applications, they will be reviewed and completed applications subjected to due diligence exercises by sefa for consideration.
  • Follow-ups will be made with small enterprises whose funding applications are incomplete to submit the outstanding information.
  • Small enterprises that require non-financial support are referred to Seda for further handling.

How to apply

To submit your application, register your profile on the sefa portal at https://sefa.finfind.co.za. Download the checklist below for guidance.

Download the brochure below: