Above: Pesto Princess is one of the current recipients of the CDI Growth Fund (http://pesto.co.za/)

A new application round has opened for the R12.8million CDI Growth Fund to boost SME growth and job creation.

The CDI Growth Fund is a grant fund specifically for growing South African small businesses who need a cash injection to scale up further and create jobs.

The CDI Growth Fund is managed by CDI Capital, which was incorporated as a subsidiary of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) in 2016 to catalyse funding for SMEs. The funding has been enabled through contributions by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).

The Fund is in the second year of a five-year disbursement period.

One of the current Fund recipients is Pesto Princess, a Cape Town-based SME that produces locally-made pesto sauces, pastes and soups using only natural ingredients and an environmental consciousness.

CEO Lesley Grimbeek says that the grant funding they received has had a tremendous impact on their growing business.

“We have seen really rapid growth in the past four years, and in the next two years we are determined to have a facility four times the size of what we currently have, creating between 250 and 300 jobs and bringing our amazing product right across South Africa. It’s been a pleasure working with the CDI’s Growth Fund, and it has been very exciting to see the impact it has made in such a short time. We have been able to purchase equipment that we could not have afforded otherwise, and through this we have been able to create more jobs. To date, we have created ten new jobs in the factory, and we have the intention of at least another 12 to 13 new positions by the end of the year,” said Grimbeek.

The CDI Growth Fund is open to South African-owned businesses who operate within South Africa, who are at least one year old with turnover or assets above R1m.

Each applicant must demonstrate their year on year growth and/or the potential for sufficient growth and must be tax compliant. Applicants also need to match 20% of the grant contribution of the Fund through a cash contribution to achieve agreed objectives. Importantly, the business must be able to create new jobs.

SMEs that meet the criteria for funding, can apply online, and are taken through a diligent process of selection and support, whereby successful applicants contract for a three-year intervention and disbursement plan, performance managed by quarterly reporting, oversight and inspection, bespoke mentorship, and business development support.

According to Ryan Rode, project coordinator for CDI Capital, the Fund is ahead of its key deliverable, namely, the creation of permanent jobs through participating SMEs.

“The CDI Growth Fund is very specific in its focus – we are looking for SMEs who are about to employ new staff to meet growing demand and who need the capital to expand their operations. The funding is a grant and it is not paid back to the Fund; and can help to leverage additional funding and de-risk loans. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a growing South African business that is needing to employ new staff.”

The deadline for applications is 12 July 2019.

For more information and to apply, visit www.cdicapital.co.za/GrowthFund