Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies officially launched the R8-million Durban branch of the South African Chemical Technology Incubator (Chemin) at the Westville Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban last week.
The incubation centre offers free support services to small chemical technology businesses in the province, as well as access to a state-of-the-art laboratory containing specialised analytical equipment. Current incubated enterprises focus on chemical detergent, cosmetics and health care products.
The centre includes a manufacturing pilot plant for recycling compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs using a patented technology.
According to the DTI, Chemin's focus is on developing the downstream chemicals manufacturing industry in South Africa. This includes the manufacture of relatively high-value pure chemicals for use as active ingredients in specialised chemicals for industrial and non-consumer applications (such as paints, mining chemicals, textile specialities, and paper chemicals).
Chemin's Durban branch was established in partnership with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) under the DTI's Incubation Support Programme, which has seen the establishment of 42 incubators in various sectors across the country.
Davies, speaking at last week's launch said a further four incubators had been approved and would be set up during the 2014/15 financial year.
Seda acting CEO Sipho Zikode commented: "We are on course to see these incubators increasing as more small enterprises go the technology incubation route .... This can only bode well for our government's drive to create employment."