The DISF provides grant funding on an 80:20 split to designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and product developers with pre-revenue innovative technologies and tech-enabled ideas and products, to help them take the next step towards commercialisation.

These businesses are generally not able to raise funds easily from traditional banks or funding agencies because of the risks involved. The grant funding assists recipients to understand their opportunities by designing and building prototypes; and validating their assumptions around the technical and market-related challenges.

Since its launch in 2014, the DISF has managed R15,819,836.68 in grant funding from TIA; with 26 projects completed; 2 abandoned and 5 currently underway. The portfolio has generated R139,982,240.00 in further investment, R71,960,000.00 in revenue and created 256 jobs.

The grant funding enables businesses to reach important development milestones and assists them to unlock further investment from the private sector. As such it acts as a seed from which the innovator can nurture the growth of their idea.

The DISF is now managed by CDI Capital, a subsidiary of The Craft and Design Institute (CDI). CDI initiated the DISF in 2014, with investment and management funds respectively provided by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism. The DISF is a legacy project of the City of Cape Town’s designation as a World Design Capital in 2014, and the Western Cape Design Strategy prepared by the CDI for the Western Cape Government in 2012/13.

Click here to read the case studies in our Impact Report, or click on the image below to download the report.