SA’s Business Partners launches $23m Green Fund for ecopreneurs

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South African risk financier Business Partners has launched the ZAR300 million (US$23 million) Green Fund, aiming to finance and support sustainable businesses that look to positively impact on the environment while creating wealth and jobs.

Business Partners said the fund aims to finance and support profit-seeking businesses that operate in the green industry, providing expansion capital, startup funding and property finance of between ZAR500,000 (US$38,000) and ZAR30 million (US$2.3 million) to selected companies.

“We recognise the huge market potential of the ‘green economy’ – opening new and growing opportunities for both large businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike,” said Nazeem Martin, Business Partners managing director, at the launch event in Cape Town.

“The Business Partners Limited Green Fund seeks to develop, grow and invest in sustainable businesses, enabling them to capitalise on opportunities in the ‘green economy’ – especially in the clean and green technology, renewable energy, recycling sectors – and deliver on its inherent job and wealth creation potential.”

Martin said the fund was in line with policy in South Africa, where the government has committed to unleashing the potential of the green economy in order to cut carbon emissions and create jobs.

“South Africa is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive economies, reported to account for nearly half of Africa’s carbon emissions, and the 12th largest carbon emitter globally,” he said.

“Given its rich alternative energy sources, the country has the potential to reduce its unsustainable levels of carbon emissions through increasing the renewable component of its energy supply mix. And, the knock-on effect for economic growth and job creation from investing in these new alternative energy sectors will be substantial.”

In this climate, Martin said opportunities were arising for SMEs within the component manufacturing and service industry sectors, while a great deal of innovation is required from private sector financiers to seize the market opportunity.

Businesses that qualify for finance from the fund will range from renewable energy providers to energy or emissions savings product and service providers, to recyclers, waste managers and green building service and product providers. Business Partners will also consider financing businesses working to conserve natural resources, protect ecosystems and biodiversity and businesses producing healthier food sources.

“We are seeking to finance businesses which actively develop, manufacture and provide goods and services aimed at ‘saving the planet’, as well as those businesses that are ‘doing the right thing’ by implementing measures and/or technology which reduce their adverse impact on the environment,” Martin said.

“Ultimately we want to support those businesses that are making a difference.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent’s most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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