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 small businesses, the National Treasury said on Monday.
Addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg on Monday, 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, managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, aims to find innovative solutions to South Africa's employment problem by encouraging new, job-creating ways of doing business in the country.
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 the fund's project partners.
The Treasury said these initiatives would 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 these were eligible.
The fund "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," the Treasury said.
A web-based application, management and tracking system is 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 particular areas.
Initiatives could include providing critical missing infrastructure that creates trading opportunities, enhances access to markets, or improves the business environment for enterprises and employment-linked investments.