De Beers launches entrepreneurial hub in Cape Town

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South African mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) has launched the De Beers Marine Zimele Business Hub in Cape Town, with the aim of supporting entrepreneurs in a number of sectors.

The hub is the company’s first in the Western Cape, with others already established in three other provinces, and will see DBCM offer entrepreneurs funding, mentoring and guidance.

“We want to affirm people to move forward. We are creating an environment in which you own your future,” DBCM chairperson Barend Petersen said at the launch.

The company said its hubs supported 233 new small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2014, creating 2,335 jobs in rural and regional urban areas, while Petersen said loans to entrepreneurs through the hubs totaled ZAR60.7 million (US$5.3 million).

Zimele hubs, according to De Beers, make it easier for budding entrepreneurs to access services as it does not require collateral from anyone who applies for a loan, and even supports people who have been blacklisted and ensures they get their obligations settled. It charges six per cent interest.

Small business development minister Lindiwe Zulu said partnerships were vital and entrepreneurs needed to be encouraged to grow their businesses.

“We believe in people standing up and doing things for themselves. We are a small business development department, but we have no intention of keeping people small. We need to help entrepreneurs rise to the next level. What’s is important is sustainable growth,” she said.

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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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