Outcry from business leaders as SAYES program hangs in the hands of the state government

South Australian Business News
Anthony Caldwell
Thursday, May 2nd 2024

There has been a public outcry from business leaders as they discover the future of the South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (SAYES) hangs in the balance, as the state government contemplates its future. 

Dozens of prominent members of South Australia’s business community have taken to social media expressing concern that SAYES may not continue, should the state government choose not to secure its ongoing support in the June state budget. 

SAYES is such an important education program for young entrepreneurs. It would be a visionless tragedy to lose it,” read one of the comments. 

The program, which has been running with state government support for 26 years, was designed to help young entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses and is facilitated by the South Australian Business Chamber. 

In a statement, Andrew Kay, CEO of the Chamber, said, For 26 years, SAYES has been a beacon for thousands of local entrepreneurs, aiding them in starting and scaling their businesses.” 

The government funding that has supported the program ran out in December 2023, and any future funding is yet to be confirmed. Without that support, the Chamber cannot sustain the program in a manner that serves the needs of young entrepreneurs.” 

Lauren Langfield of Lauren Langfield Wines is one of the 20 participants taking part in this year’s program. Commenting on the Chamber’s social media post pleading for the government to continue SAYES support, she said, As a member of the current cohort of the SAYES program, this is extremely disappointing to hear.” 

She continued, The program has given me such a boost with running my own wine label, opening doors to some wonderful mentors and industry leaders who have been generous and inspiring. I hope common sense prevails here.” 

Early participant Natasha Sampson, Director of Tashly Consulting, commented, As one of the early SAYES graduates, I would be sorely disappointed to see this program end.” 

It is an immensely valuable program and helped build my business, which is 24 years strong this year. The mentorship and guidance received was crucial to the development of a startup business. 

It would be extremely short-sighted for the government to not support the development of young people in business. Maintaining this program will help ensure a strong future for our state through the establishment and development of new businesses,” Ms Sampson concluded. 

Arie Kolesnichenko, who completed the program last year, winning top in his class and was awarded the prestigious title of South Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year, said, It’s disappointing to see that the state government does not see the economic contribution that small & innovative businesses have, with the support and knowledge delivered in the SAYES program.” 

The South Australian Business Chamber has asked the state government for a modest $200,000 to be split over two years, securing the program until 2026. 

A significant portion of the SAYES program is facilitated by experienced business mentors who volunteer their time. Our request to the government is to provide enough support to administer the program effectively so we don’t need to increase participation fees for entrepreneurs,” the Chamber’s CEO added. 

The appeal is among a suite of recommendations made to the state government ahead of the 2024 – 2025 budget, designed to address economic complexity, productivity, and business growth in our state.


Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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