Western Cape’s CDI launches $2.4m SME investment fund

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The Western Cape-based Craft + Design Institute (CDI) has announced ZAR33million (US$2.4 million) in funding has been made available in a bid to boost SME growth, job creation and innovation.

The CDI has raised the money to establish three funds – a Growth Fund, an Innovation Fund and a Loan Book – all of which will be managed by its investment arm CDI Capital.

The funding will be for developing 60 growth-oriented SMEs and 20 innovative technological solutions – and to create 600 permanent jobs in the process over three years. It has been enabled by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund through the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).

The Growth Fund is open to businesses with turnover or assets of more than ZAR1 million (US$73,000) with the ability to create permanent jobs, with applications open until December 31. The Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF) is open to inventors who believe they have protectable innovative technological solutions that could impact on specific sectors and create permanent jobs, with applications closing on the same day.

In addition to the grant funding products, CDI Capital will also launch a ZAR3.5 million (US$255,000) working capital and term loan facility at reduced rates for the duration of the three-year project to provide access to cash flow during the growth stage of these, and other qualifying SMEs.

Erica Elk, executive director of the CDI, said the launch of the various funds was a landmark moment in the organisation’s history.

“Over the past few years our team has successfully taken our services across the country – we have conducted a business and product development workshop series in every single province and received incredibly positive feedback. The message clearly is ‘more please’,” she said.

“In most countries, SMEs play a vital role as drivers of economic growth, innovation and job creation, but, in South Africa, this value is yet to be properly realised. To achieve this, the challenges experienced by SMEs need to be addressed. Namely access to markets, finance and credit, infrastructure, resources for R&D, and access to adequately skilled and work ready labour.”

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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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