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VENTURES: R14.5m For Craft Sector Jobs

 



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Some 36 Western Cape craft enterprises are to receive investment funding worth R14.5 million over the next 3 years, through the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) Jobs Fund programme.

This investment should create 451 sustainable, long-term jobs in the craft and design sector.

The investment comes as a result of the successful application by the Cape Craft & Design Institute (CCDI) for project funding through the Jobs Fund’s first Enterprise Development funding window in 2011.

Under the programme, the DBSA Jobs Fund covers 80% of the new intervention costs, with the craft enterprises making up the balance.  The funding will be invested in areas such as product development, technology enhancement, equipment and process upgrades, marketing and business management.

The project was formally launched in Cape Town on Monday 3 September at the headquarters of the CCDI.

The CCDI’s application is one of only 41 (from a total of over 2651applications in the first round) to have received the green light from the DBSA,” said CCDI Executive Director Erica Elk.

In our nearly 11 years of operation, we have assisted enterprises with everything from mentoring to marketing, and business plans to budgeting.  We are delighted to now have helped raise financial resources of this extent, to help businesses invest in improving their products, processes and competitiveness to create new jobs.”

The craft sector is diverse and dynamic, comprising primarily small and micro businesses, with the capacity to contribute significantly to people’s lives and the economy of the country,” said Dumisa Hlatshwayo, Chief Investment Officer of the Jobs Fund.

Working with the CCDI gives us the opportunity to assist a large number of different enterprises in a coordinated manner. We also have the reassurance that these craft enterprises will enjoy the support and guidance of an experienced sector development agency.”

Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, said: “The design and craft sector is a key contributor to the creation of job opportunities and is a major attractor of trade and investment. We are proud to support the CCDI and congratulate them on successfully applying for additional funding from the DBSA.”

The CCDI began work on the rigorous funding application process in July last year, putting out a call for applications to the over 3000 enterprises on its database. “Implementation of the project will roll out in phases, with the first phase of 29 companies, who currently employ 437 people, itching to get going,” said Elk.

Criteria were that the enterprises had to be operational for at least two years; tax-compliant; able to cover 20% of the funding; and to identify what they would do to grow their businesses, if they had the resources.

The vision for growth is their own,” said Elk.  “In our experience, this is the most important factor for the growth and development of any business.”

The project is managed by the CCDI’s Business Support Programme Manager, Sarah Polonsky, and supported by Programmes Director, Mariette Williams.

The process of identifying a vision and assessing current strengths and weaknesses with each of the companies applying for this programme has been extremely valuable,” said Polonsky.

Many of the craft produces work in isolation, with a short-term focus. Through this process of interrogating their visions, they now have clearer medium to long-term strategies. As an organisation, we have also gained valuable insights.”

While we are implementing this project, we will be looking at ways in which we can integrate the lessons and methodologies we develop within our current business support programme, and of course, share with the craft sector as a whole,” said Elk.


 
 
 
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