SMEs show interest in CDI funding

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South African small businesses in search of a cash injection enabling them to scale up and create much-needed jobs, are responding enthusiastically to a Craft and Design Institute (CDI) growth fund's call for funding applications.

The fund is mandated to allocate R12.8m to SMEs countrywide and across sectors.

The fund is managed by CDI Capital, a CDI subsidiary. Financing comes from the National Treasury's jobs fund, the Technology Innovation Agency and the Western Cape department of economic development & tourism.

"We made the call for applications on 12 June and received 60 submissions within a fortnight from businesses that are growing," says CDI executive director Erica Elk.

"We are delighted by this response, and we expect to receive considerably more applications. Our experience with the previous funding round shows that the bulk of submissions are received during the final week. Businesses shouldn't wait until the last day, though, as there are a few uploads required."

More than half the applications received to date, from June 12 to June 28, are from Gauteng, with the remainder from Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

They represent craft, design, light manufacturing and other enterprises that range from tourism and logistics to vehicle security and retail.

Ryan Rode, project co-ordinator for CDI Capital, says funding is open to South African-owned businesses that operate in SA, have been established for at least a year, and have turnover or assets of more than R1m.

Applicants must demonstrate their year-on-year growth and/or the potential for sufficient growth. They must also match 20% of the grant contribution of the fund through a cash contribution and achieve agreed objectives. The funding is a grant and is not paid back to the fund.

"The CDI growth fund is specific in its focus - we are looking for SMEs that are about to employ new staff to meet growing demand and which need the capital to expand their operations," says Rode. "Unemployment is a national crisis and this is an opportunity for small businesses to grow in a supportive, mentored environment and create jobs."

Shortlisted applicants in the current round will be notified by August 12, and they will proceed to the investment committee for further interviews and assessments before the final selection is made.

- To find out more,go to http://cdicapital.co.za/growthfund/.

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