Funding Institution key to growth of Innovative enterprises

The Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) around South Africa are critical to bridging the gap that exists between entrepreneurs’ ideas and commercialisation.

This observation was made at a gathering that was organised by the eMonti Science and Technology Park held at the East London IDZ on Friday May 4. The eMonti Science and Technology Park is an initiative, operating under the auspices of the East London Industrial Development Zone, aimed at accelerating the pace of economic development in the Eastern Cape.

The workshop was designed to connect entrepreneurs with DFIs in an effort to create awareness about the different finance products available in these institutions. Attending and presenting at the workshop were the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII), Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the National Employment Fund.

Speaking about SPII Ntokozo Mthembu says the initiative aims to promote technology development in industry in South Africa. “We aim to bridge the gap between an idea, and its commercialisation.  We support local technology products,” he says

“We are more concerned with Intellectual Property (IP); the product must be South African, we want to keep IP here. We are willing to support a lot of incubators in the eMonti STP in the East London IDZ.”

Sectors supported by SPII range from Information Communication Technology (ICT), to Manufacturing, electrical and machinery.

Zoleka Ngcete from the TIA says they [TIA] look to support innovative companies. “We support entrepreneurs that understand that innovation is important as far as market share is concerned. I’d like to urge innovative entrepreneurs to exploit opportunities presented by the TIA.”

For ECDC manager of short-term development loans Mninawa Nomnga it was important that DFIs developed the right instruments to find business ideas. “I’d like to encourage the entrepreneurs here to find unique value propositions, so that you provide the market with new products that it craves for,” he says