South Australian Business News

Young entrepreneur program at risk of losing state government support after 26 years

Anthony Caldwell
Thursday, April 11th 2024

Pictured: Luke Timmins — South Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 and SAYES Participant

The long-running South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (SAYES), facilitated by the South Australian Business Chamber is facing a funding crisis that has put future intakes in serious doubt.

In a plea to the State Treasurer ahead of the upcoming Budget, the South Australian Business Chamber has advocated for the government to continue its funding to secure the future of the SAYES program.

Andrew Kay, CEO of the Chamber, emphasised the critical role of SAYES, stating, 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.”

We’re witnessing a decline in entrepreneurship rates in South Australia. It’s essential that this government does not let a program that has played a key part in creating jobs and economic growth in our state fall by the wayside,” said Mr Kay.

This program serves a rich diversity of start-ups, including many that would often fall between the cracks for such opportunities because their businesses may not be operating in the hot” sectors of the day,” said Mr Kay. 

It helps these risk takers, old and young, bring their idea to life and have a better chance of fulfilling their dream.”

The submission calls on the State Government to continue backing SAYES with a modest contribution of $200,000 spread across two years, securing its future beyond its current intake of participants.

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”, Kay added.

Graduates of the South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (SAYES)

Luke Timmins, Co-Owner of Adelaide and Hills Lawns and Gardens, shared his experience with SAYES, which led to him being named South Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year at 28.

The SAYES program was recommended to me by a friend and when we looked into it, we realised that a lot of the offerings were what we were looking for,” he said. 

It’s disappointing to hear that the program is at risk of losing funding.

It’s been a successful program for a long time with a lot of alumni who have gone on to do great things. 

It’s a small investment for a large benefit to the state. If you look 20, 30, 40 years down the track, today’s young people are going to be leading the major businesses. 

We owe it to future generations to try and create the biggest talent pool of solid leaders now to secure our future,” said Timmins.

This 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.

The South Australian Business Chamber’s full state budget submission is expected to be released in the coming weeks.


Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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