4 December 2012

South Africa: Jobs Fund Calls for Grant Applications

Pretoria — The Jobs Fund, announced by President Jacob Zuma in 2011, has to date approved funding for 54 initiatives, including innovative business incubation models to develop SMMEs, the Treasury says.

This week the Chairperson of the Jobs Fund Investment Committee, Frans Baleni, announced the launch of the Job Fund's third call for funding proposals.

The R9 billion-fund is managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and aims to find innovative solutions to employment problem by finding new ways of doing business that create new, permanent jobs in South Africa.

Contracted initiatives have been awarded Jobs Funds grants of more than R1 million, which have leveraged an additional R1.8 million in matching funding from project partners.

The Treasury said these initiatives will create over 65 000 new permanent jobs in South Africa by 2015. "In addition, these initiatives will also place 42 000 unemployed people in existing vacancies."

Since opening in 2011, the Jobs Fund has received over 3 500 applications, however, only half of them were eligible.

"It has made significant progress in establishing efficient systems to process the large numbers of applications it receives and to overcome some of the challenges experienced in setting up what is a new funding instrument in South Africa."

A web-based application, management and tracking system was now operational, allowing applicants to monitor the progress of their applications.

The third call for proposals is a request for applications from initiatives in enterprise development and infrastructure.

The enterprise development window looks for initiatives that develop innovative commercial approaches to long-term job creation in ways that combine profitability with high social impact. It is looking for new business models, products and markets.

The infrastructure window of the Jobs Fund will co-finance light infrastructure investment projects which are necessary to unlock job creation potential in a particular area. Initiatives could include providing critical missing infrastructure that creates trading opportunities; enhances access to markets; improves the business environment for enterprises and employment linked investment.

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