In May 2018, while addressing the National Assembly for the budget vote, former Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, stated that the government would set aside R2.5 billion for an SMME fund to be disbursed during 2019 and 2020.

SA News now reports that earlier this week, while addressing the National Assembly for the budget vote, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande, said that progress has been made in establishing a five-year R5 billion SMME fund.

“I am pleased to report that progress has been made towards establishing a fund that will help bring locally developed innovations into the market. The fund is designed to largely de-risk the early stages of technology commercialization and business development,” explained Nzimande.

The publication adds that the fund is aimed at helping innovators commercialise their products, and it is expected to start dispersing funds on 1st April 2020.

Furthermore Nzimande said that his department will over the next five years continue to play its role in driving and advocating for increases in gross investment. This will be done in research and development as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with the aim of achieving the National Development target of 1.5 percent.

“An injection of R1 billion per year for five years is expected to make a significant impact in making these businesses more attractive to investors for significant scale-up,” concluded Nzimande.

[Source – SA News] [Image – CC 0 Pixabay]