3.3: Institutional Support Framework (Continued)
Technology for Women in Business (TWIB)
The TWIB aims to enhance the use of technology by women in business, promote innovation among women, and encourage young girls and women to choose careers in science and technology.
By 2004, the TWIB had established itself in a variety of business sectors, including minerals and energy, construction, Information Technology (IT) and ICT, as well as agriculture, arts and culture, and science and technology. The launch of the Girl Child Initiative is one of the TWIB’s most important initiatives. This includes the establishment of Techno-Girls, which encourages young girls to pursue a career in the field of science and technology.
The 2004 TWIB Conference was held in Kimberley in the Northern Cape under the theme Celebrating a Decade of Innovation and Creativity through Technology South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SAWEN)
The SAWEN was established to assist aspiring and existing women in business. The Network advocates policy changes, builds capacity, and facilitates the access of women to business resources and information. The SAWEN signed a MoU with the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) in May 2003. In accordance with the MoU, the JSE will train these women entrepreneurs in the workings of stock, commodity and bond markets, the operations of the JSE, and how to engage with these markets and institutions.
The SAWEN, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Gender and Women’s Empowerment Unit and the JSE, hosted a Women’s Enterprises Seminar in July 2004. The Seminar, with the theme exploiting the Benefits for Growing Women’s Enterprises, provided women entrepreneurs with a broader understanding of the dealings of the JSE, advised them on how their enterprises can access the benefits of securities exchange investments, and imparted to them the importance and benefits of stock listing on the JSE.
National Empowerment Fund (NEF) Trust
The NEF was established by the NEF Act, 1998 (Act 105 of 1998), to promote and facilitate economic equality and transformation. The Fund received an initial capital injection of R2 billion from government in 2004/05. The NEF leverages its funding by setting up strategic alliances with other private-sector financial institutions to further increase the funding for BEE.
It also operates at several different levels, providing finance and business support to rural women and fledgling entrepreneurs, and large-scale financial support to BEE groups. The NEF partners with key business organisations that are focused on serving women. The NEF deploys its resources to optimise the empowerment dividend to government. Only those transactions that advance government’s transformation and BEE objectives are supported.
The NEF’s funding comprises a hybrid of loans and equity, and is designed to lower the cost of capital for BEE participants. This approach to BEE funding is aimed at overcoming the traditional risk aversion of existing funders.
Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)
The IDC plays an increasingly important role in supporting and assisting with venture capital in the formation of new Sees. The IDC has three operational and client-oriented divisions, namely Services Sectors, Industrial Sectors and Project Division.
The Services Sectors Division looks at various ways of increasing its development impact on economic growth and job creation, which is increasingly evident in the service sectors. The Division fulfils the IDC’s mandate of SMME and BEE development as well as its obligations in line with government’s IMS, which identified new sectors of strategic importance that need support. The Industrial Sectors Division intensifies financing activities in the traditional business areas and concentrates on the development of medium-sized enterprises, focusing on labour- intensive sectors such as agro-industries and entrepreneurial mining.
The Projects Division impacts on the regional economy by utilising its expertise in evaluating project ideas, participating in and co-funding project pre-feasibility and/or feasibility studies, as well as providing project finance for viable new and/or expanded projects. Over the last five years, the IDC has facilitated the creation of 70 000 jobs, and approved projects responsible for generating more than R20 billion per year in export earnings.
The IDC also facilitated investments of more than R21 billion in South Africa, and made significant progress in the support of BEE by providing loan finance to the value of R1, 4 billion to historically disadvantaged businesses. Almost 60% of the IDC projects were in rural and peri-urban areas, and 1 200 Sees received loan finance.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s contribution to the IDC goes to the Fund for Research into Industrial Development, Growth and Equity, which is an initiative of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), managed by the IDC Funds also go the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation, a partnership between government and the private sector, which promotes technology development in manufacturing industries in South Africa through support for innovation of competitive products and/or processes.
Business Partners Ltd
Business Partners Ltd is a specialist investment group, providing customised and integrated investment, mentorship and property-management services for Sees in South Africa.
Business Partners is an unlisted public company whose major shareholders include the Department of Trade and Industry (through Khula Enterprise Finance), Remgro, the Business Partners Employee Share Trust, Sanlam, BHP Billiton SA, Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, Nedcor, FirstRand, Old Mutual Nominees, Standard Bank Investment Corporation of South Africa, Anglo American Corporation of South Africa, De Beers Holdings and Standard Bank Nominees.
The group has been investing in entrepreneurs for over 20 years, providing private equity of up to R15 million for viable start-ups, expansions, outright purchases, management buy-outs and buy-ins, franchises, tenders and contracts. It also provides a range of value-added services including property broking and management, consulting and mentorship.
In 2003/04, Business Partners boasted an investment portfolio of R991 million, with equity- based investments amounting to 40% of the portfolio. A total of 513 investments valued at R449 million were approved in 2003/04. Of these, 185 investments to the value of R177, 4 million were approved for historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs, and 152 investments amounting to R131, 4 million were approved for female entrepreneurs.
Business Partners also facilitated 7 400 employment opportunities in 2003/04.
The Business Partners Umsobomvu Franchising Fund was established in 2003. With an initial investment allocation of R125 million, the Fund aims to make all of the opportunities and benefits of franchising available to the country’s new generation of entrepreneurs. During 2003/04, investments amounting to more than R20 million were approved on behalf of the Fund. Business Partners has 22 offices nationwide. It offers free initial consultations to existing or potential entrepreneurs with a viable business plan. More than 340 mentors are available to assist entrepreneurs with advice, consulting and mentoring. It also offers a user-friendly business planning model on its website.