Six SMMEs from the Amathole District have secured close on R3 million in funding from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
MEC for the Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mlungisi Mvoko visited Butterworth to confirm that the funds are being used for the intended purposes, verify the employment impact, and officially present the grants to recipients.
Five grants totalling R2,5m were made to the co-operatives in Amathole District.
The co-operatives are the Ntinga Nje Ngokhozi Primary Cooperative (R500k) in Dutywa that manufactures fencing material, Vukani Tyekelebende Agricultural Co-operative (R500k), also in Dutywa that produces crops and vegetables. The Butterworth recipients are the Mabamo Bakery (R500k) and clothing manufacturer Kheswa Cekwana Co-operative (R483k)
The fifth co-operative to be awarded funding is the youth-owned clothing manufacturer Zimasa Youth Agricultural Primary Co-operative (R450k) in Nqamakhwe.
The co-operatives used the funds to purchase to construct a building, renovations, vehicles, equipment and related items, offset operational costs and raw materials.
The Great7 Guest House in Butterworth received the Local and Regional Economic (LRED) Fund grant of R410k. The funding was used to acquire various assets including furniture.
“The funding intervention, as is the case with all the businesses which we funded throughout the province, is part of the government-community compact that includes ECDC. It aims to create employment, retain existing jobs and ensure business sustainability as we work hand-in-hand to develop the economy. Our people should expect to witness our own making a difference in other people's lives," he explains.
The Amathole presentation brings to 23 the number of recipients who have received over R36m in funding from the LRED, Imvaba Cooperative and Provincial Economic Stimulus Funds.
Presentations to beneficiaries in the OR Tambo, Joe Gqabi, Chris Hani Districts and Nelson Mandela Bay took place in April and June. The final presentation will be held in the Alfred Nzo District next week.
Currently, the application window for the LRED fund is closed. However, a new window for applications is planned. The Department will publish these details in due course.
The Department also intends to develop an online application process for the funds for greater efficiency and faster turnaround times.
Talking about how small entities can access funding, Mvoko says it is evident from the latest relief funding applications that some businesses that applied did not qualify because forms were incomplete and mandatory documents had not been submitted. In some cases, businesses did not comply with industry standards.
However, Mvoko says the Department is now working closely with the municipalities to share information regarding the funding instruments, requirements and qualifying criteria to assist business that experienced this type of challenge."
"In addition, the Department, through ECDC, will provide R1,5 million to help SMMEs with certification and accreditation," he ends.
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) manages the Imvaba Co-operative Fund while the Department manages the LRED and Provincial Economic Stimulus Funds.