The UCT Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), based at the GSB, has been awarded two significant new grants that will enable it to extend its successful small business financing operation in the Western Cape.
The Centre has received R1-million from CASIDRA (formerly Lanok), which is wholly owned by the Western Cape Provincial Government, and R1.6-million from the Swiss South Africa Co-operation Initiative, the latter to be paid over two-years. The money will be channelled into a capital fund that is used exclusively for loans and other support for small township businesses and entrepreneurs in the Western Cape.
Since its launch two years ago, more than 35 small businesses have benefited from the CIE's SME business development programme. In most cases these business were unable to obtain finance from conventional sources, either because they lacked collateral or because of their location. To be eligible to apply for funds, businesses need only be registered and have fixed premises, a landline telephone contact and bank records.
CIE Director, Mike Herrington, said that the Centre's research and experience over the past two years had shown that these minimum criteria could significantly improve a business' chance of success.
All businesses have to be based in the Cape Town metropole area as the package provides full-time mentorship to those entrepreneurs securing loans. The Centre also pays for basic management training for entrepreneurs and business owners, which takes place at the GSB.