Applications open for R12.8m growth fund

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A new application round has opened for the R12.8m CDI Growth Fund to help boost SME growth and job creation nationally.The CDI Growth Fund is a grant fund specifically aimed at the growth of South African small businesses in need of a cash injection to scale up and enable the creation of more jobs.Businesses have until July 12 to apply, but applications are only open to SA-owned businesses that operate within SA, that are at least a year old and that have a turnover or assets above R1m.Since its inception, the fund has signed contracts with 38 SMEs, that have collectively created more than 160 jobs.The CDI Growth Fund is managed by CDI Capital, incorporated as a subsidiary of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) in 2016 to catalyse funding for SMEs. The funding was enabled through contributions by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, the Technology Innovation Agency, and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.The fund is in the second year of a five-year disbursement period.A stringent criterion for all the applicants is that the business must be able to create employment.Fund recipient Pesto Princess is a Cape Town SME that produces pesto sauces, pastes and soups using only natural ingredients.Company CEO Lesley Grimbeek said the grant funding received had had a significant effect on the business’s growth.“We have seen really rapid growth in the past four years.“In the next two years we are determined to have a facility four times the size of what we [now] have, creating between 250 and 300 jobs and bringing our product right across South Africa. “It’s been a pleasure working with the CDI’s Growth Fund, and it has been exciting to see the impact it has made in such a short time.“We have been able to purchase equipment we could not have afforded otherwise.“We have created 10 new jobs in the factory, and we have the intention of at least another 12 to 13 new positions by the end of the year.”CDI Capital project co-ordinator Ryan Rode said: “The CDI Growth Fund is very specific in its focus – we are looking for SMEs who are about to employ new staff to meet growing demand and who need the capital to expand their operations.“The funding is a grant and is not paid back to the fund.“[It] can help to leverage additional funding and de-risk loans.“It’s a fantastic opportunity for a growing South African business that is needing to employ new staff.”..

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