Applications are currently closed.

The CDI Growth Fund offers your growing Small/Medium Business (SME) access to grant funding, working capital and business support, thereby assisting your business to unlock its growth and create permanent jobs, as well as contributing towards the economic development and competitiveness of South Africa.

In its first round (2012 – 2015), supported by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, we exceeded targets, creating 464 jobs in 45 businesses. Participating SMEs grew their combined annual revenue by 73% over three years.

Now in its second round, with continued support from National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, our goal over the next three years is to support up to 60 businesses to create 600 new jobs.

If you are an emerging SME who meets the fund criteria, and who is experiencing growth or are poised for expansion that includes creating permanent jobs, then you should consider applying to the Growth Fund.

How Much Grant Funding Can I Apply For?

  • You can apply for an amount between R21 000 and R2million rand, depending on how many jobs you commit to creating in the three-year period.
  • You can apply for R21 000 for every 1 permanent job created.
  • You are also required to match the grant funding amount with 20% of your own cash.

The table below gives you an idea, of how many jobs are required for a given amount of grant funding.

What Are the Other Non-Funding Components Given to Successful Applicants?

Your non-financial support will provide access to:

  1. Business development training
  2. Coaching and mentoring
  3. Prototyping/sampling facilities and expertise
  4. Market platforms to test market-ready products

What Are the Criteria and Requirements for Applying?

To be eligible to apply your business must:

  1. Be a South African-owned business, with the controlling interest of the enterprise (51% of the issued ordinary share capital) must be held by South African citizens with valid a South African ID or a South African Registered legal entity itself controlled by South African citizens with valid South African ID.
  2. Operate within South Africa, including but not limited to projects, programs or enterprises of the business.
  3. Be an existing business, at least 1 year old (preference will be given to businesses that have been trading for 2 years or more) with turnover or assets above R1m.
  4. Match 20% of the contribution of the Fund through a cash contribution
  5. Must create one job for every R21,000 grant investment.
  6. Be tax compliant

Additionally, you must:

  1. Not be insolvent or currently under debt administration
  2. Be willing to provide signed audited or independently reviewed financial statements and all supporting documents required
  3. Commit to training new employees

Once your application is successful, you will sign a contract and report on progress and impact to the Fund administrators on a quarterly basis during and for a two-year period after the project completion.

In addition:

  • Only fully completed applications will be considered
  • CDI funding decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into
  • No staff member or associate of the CDI, Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) or Department of Economic Development and Tourism may apply

For queries please contact: Ryan Rode –

What Do We Look For, When Considering Your Application?

Apart from the required minimum criteria above, we look for the following:

  1. A willingness to create and train permanent employees
  2. Proven track records and results
  3. Sales growth or market potential with year-on-year growth and/or the potential for sufficient growth to support job creation
  4. Competitive advantage
  5. Strong Management team capability to drive the process.
  6. Preference will be given to businesses that have been trading for 2 years or more

The application process will guide you in being able to present this information, and what is suitable evidence of the above.

How Is the Grant Paid Over to The Business?

The money is disbursed over a period of up to 3 years, in line with a mutually agreed intervention plan.

We help you develop this intervention plan so that it fits with your growth strategy and is manageable. If we approve your funding, you can be assured that we have approved it on the basis that your intervention plan including your budgets and employment plan are feasible and viable for your business.

What Can the Grant Funding Be Used For?

It can be used for the following:

  • Advertising, Marketing & Communication
  • Building & other Fixed Structures
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Materials
  • Market Research & Testing
  • Professional Services
  • Software & other Intangible Assets
  • Samples
  • Training
  • Transport
  • Salaries for Key Personnel, for a specific period, to leverage growth opportunities
  • Production Process Efficiency

What Can the Funding Not Be Used For?

You may not apply for grant funding for the following uses:

  1. The purchasing of equipment or operational expenses that is not within the scope of work pertaining to the allowable activities and objective of your funding application.
  2. Leveraged buy-out funds, hedging, borrowings
  3. Loans to partners, the fund managers, their employees and affiliates, except for members of Financial Sector Charter

What Type of Businesses/ Business Owners Cannot Apply?

The following businesses cannot apply to the CDI Capital Growth Fund:

  1. Tobacco, liquor, gambling, sex trade businesses
  2. Any business involved in illegal trade
  3. Any political organisation
  4. Armaments businesses
  5. Speculative real estate businesses
  6. Ventures inconsistent with the mandate of CDI Capital, or any business whose trade or operations may prejudice the reputation and good standing of CDI Capital
  7. Businesses/ business owners under debt review
  8. Any business having directors (or equivalent) who are un-rehabilitated insolvents individuals
  9. Technically insolvent businesses and individuals

Who Are We and Why Do We Do This?

CDI Capital is a niche emerging impact funder, and a for-profit Level 1 B-BBEE subsidiary of the Craft + Design Institute (CDI) NPC.

The Craft + Design Institute (CDI) is a South African non-profit company with 18 years of success in developing creative people and small businesses.

The CDI has over 5200 members, run over 453 training workshops, and leveraged R78m in investment and grant funding for small businesses in South Africa.

As an impact funder, CDI Capital is committed to creating positive social and economic impact in the SME sector and the South African economy.

Our goal over the next three years is to support up to 60 businesses to create 600 new jobs.

How Do I Apply?

Applications can only be made online, on this website. Applications are now closed for the current round.

By When Must I Apply?

Applications are currently closed.

What Happens Then?

The application is checked that it meets the minimum criteria to be eligible.

If it does, then it is sent to a Steering and Investment committee for review. If successful, we then follow a process of setting up an intervention plan with you and meeting with you.

Formal due diligence is done on applications over R1m.

The full application process can be seen in the fund application flowchart diagram below.


Fund application flowchart

“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,” – Lesley Grimbeek, CEO, Pesto Princess (Current CDI Growth Fund recipient)

“The CDI has assisted us during the funding process with financial management and mentorship as well as export readiness.”— Ilundi (2012-15 funding recipient). The funding enabled the business to fully equip the workspace with the tools, machinery, office equipment and furniture to increase production capabilities; and they employed two more full-time staff members. Turnover increased by over 700%.


“We had wonderful assistance from the CDI with the Jobs Fund grant to create jobs.” –  RAIN (2012-15 funding recipient). RAIN’s staff complement increased from 50 to 172 during the project period. Turnover increased by over 120%.


“We appreciate CDI’s mentoring and assistance. We are also thankful to the Jobs Fund. This investment has made a big difference in our business and it will go a long way.” –  Imiso (2012-15 funding recipient). Imiso created four new jobs. Turnover increased by over 119%.