Startups looking for funding can now apply to the Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF) for a share of R6.5m. The fund is looking for pre-revenue and innovative technologies in the agri-processing, health and bio-tech, and manufacturing sectors, says VentureBurn.
The fund is open to Western Cape-based early-stage companies and SMEs, businesses in incubation, entrepreneurs and researchers. Students at tertiary institutions in the Western Cape may also apply as long as the institution does not already have intellectual property claims to the product or service.
Preference will be given to businesses with at least a 25% black ownership and job creation potential.
The chosen applicants will be able to apply for up to R500,000 in funding. Entrepreneurs must also be able to match 20% of the funding in cash or in-kind contributions.
DISF is a product of the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI). It receives investment and management funds from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The first round of the project, which launched in 2014, targeted 12 startups in the Western Cape out of 151 applicants. The applicants were able to move onto the next stages in their businesses and have collectively created 18 new jobs and a turnover of R2.4m in the past six months.
“The Seed Fund has given these innovators and entrepreneurs a little bit of breathing space and an opportunity to flex their muscles — which is all they really needed to take their next steps,” says executive director of the CCDI, Erica Elk, in a press release to Ventureburn.
“More importantly though, we didn’t just give them the money. We walked beside them every step of the way over the two years, providing support, advice and access to additional expertise when they needed it.”
According to Elk, the DISF has allowed the CCDI to create other investments, such as the Jobs Fund project, which is investing R14.5m into 45 companies over three years. These businesses have created over 464 new jobs as well as doubling in size and turnover.
Another creation is CCDI Capital, which is an SMME investment vehicle, which will manage the second round of DISF funding and another Jobs Fund programme.
According to the Western Cape provincial minister of economic opportunities, Alan Winde, the initiative is supported due to the global potential of businesses going through DISF.
“We have an ecosystem taking shape here at the southern tip of Africa because of programmes like this, because of the environment we are in, and because of the mindset of young people coming into the system. I encourage every person with an innovative idea in the focus areas to apply. This is an excellent platform to take your idea or business to a new level.”
Applications close on 4 November. Those wishing to enter can visit the CCDI Capital website.