Small firms strike gold

Sibongile Mntungwana

Jewellery manufacturers have struck gold with the introduction of a R100 million loan scheme which aims to help the sector to increase its production capacity and reclaim local and overseas markets.

The Gold Loan Scheme, launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), provides working capital loans from R3 million and up, at a fixed rate of three percent per annum to both emerging and established gold jewellery manufacturers.

The scheme was welcomed by jewellery manufacturer Sibongile Mntungwana, who owns Akhona Idube Jewellery & Manufacturing.

“The new loan scheme has come at the right time. My company is battling to grow because of a lack of working capital,” she said..

She said in her two years of operating her business she has faced a constant battle for funding and has in the past been turned down by the banks and other funding institutions. However, with the launch of the scheme she is hopeful that she will get help soon.

“I will definitely be applying for assistance under the new loan scheme,” she added.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme last month Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the scheme was established after research showed that there are about 1 000 jewellery manufacturers left in the country and that production has fallen by more than half in the last decade.

Davies said the scheme would assist local businesses to recapture the market lost thanks to the rise in imports in the jewellery sector up from R280 million in 2004 to R1 billion this year. Funding will only be available for manufacturing activities that take place in South Africa and manufacturers will be expected to make their own financial contributions as well.

Applicants will also have to provide the IDC with a business plan and must comply with the organisation’s funding requirements which include compliance with international environmental standards.

Business owners interested in the fund can apply online or via the IDC offices.


Top marks for agencies


Akhona Idube Jewellery & Manufacturing, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Minister Rob Davies, , Sibongile Mntungwana

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