When a lack of funds recently threatened to cripple a business trip to London, its organisers, business development organisation Silicon Cape, approached the Provincial Growth Fund for help.
The fund, an initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), provides assistance to small businesses in need of finance. The fund is target-specific, because it only supports projects managed by more than one business.
Launched in 2009, the Silicone Cape Initiative seeks to link-up small business owners with local and foreign investors.
Despite being based in the Western Cape, business owners across the country are able to participate in projects related to Silicone Cape.
After receiving a cash injection of about R240 000, the London trip proved a success, with local companies gaining overseas investment opportunities and ideas to improve the local IT sector.
Silicon Cape’s events relations manager, Liane du Toit, says that the fund assisted it last year.
She says it recruited a number of IT business owners to take part in the trip.
Silicon Cape was awarded an amount of R240 000, having provided the required 30% minimum contribution to include in the overall intervention costs.
Businesses applying to finance their projects through the fund are expected to contribute a minimum of 30% to the total cost.
The remaining 70% is paid for by the fund.
Du Toit says the plan was for a number of local IT technicians and engineers, some of whom run their own businesses, to attend a series of workshops in London.
The aim of the business trip was to “create more exposure to international investors about the local IT industry”.
David Hislop, founder of Korwe Software, is one of many local business owners whose technological innovations led to his joining other people on the trip.
“The exercise helped us to polish our business plan and gave us a perspective on our own operations and the market,” he says.
Hislop’s company invests in ideas designed to improve the way mobile gadgets function, such as the free flow of data.
Through the fund’s assistance, participants were able to stay in London. Here, they attended formal pitch sessions and networked with overseas counterparts.
Having provided support to a number of companies, the fund is fulfilling its aim of creating an “enabling environment for businesses”.
This is being done by providing financial support to “innovative economic development projects”.
Previous participant of Silicon Cape’s London trip include Stuart Minnaar, owner of Studentology, also featured in this month’s edition.
He was able to secure investment into his business worth £150 000 thanks to UK-based investment company, Mamba Mentors and is now selling his business to a big media firm.
Application criteria for the Provincial Growth Fund is currently under review.
Business owners interested in applying to the fund will need to watch the department’s website.
More information is expected to be available later this year.
Applications are closed at this time.