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South African Money

SA SME Fund will commence with due diligence in July says CEO

The R1.5-billion SA SME Fund will commence with initial fund screening due diligence from next month (July 2017), the fund’s CEO Quinton Dicks said today.

In April, Dicks told Ventureburn that he plans to finalise the recruitment of his initial five-member team by 1 June before making investments into approved funds.

The fund will invest in funds which will then invest in high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises.

In response to questions from Ventureburn on whether any funds had been disbursed, Dicks said the initial team members had all been appointed with the final appointment joining on 1 July 2017.

“We have not committed to any funds and consequently not disbursed any funds,” he added.

It comes after the fund’s interim CEO Lisa Klein said in September last year that the fund aimed to deploy the first monies in the first quarter of 2017.

‘We’ve not committed to any funds and consequently not disbursed any funds’

In April, venture capitalist Michael Jordaan bemoaned that the fund, whose board is chaired by Discovery CEO Adrian Gore, was taking too long to make its first investment.

“Ideally they should have been disbursing funds within 90 days of coming up with the concept, probably by partnering (with) established VCs in the industry who are all seeing more promising deals than they can fund,” he said at the time.

Read more: SA downgrade ‘nearly irrelevant’ to startups – Michael Jordaan

The government reneged on an initial pledge that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa made during the fund’s launch in May last year, to match the R1.5bn put in by several listed companies, with the National Treasury’s then director-general Lungisa Fuzile in April saying the government would not commit any money to the fund.

Read more: ‘Government won’t match private sector in R1.5bn SME fund’

In response to a question from Ventureburn on whether he had had any further engagements with the National Treasury on the government co-investing with approved funds, Dicks said he had not.

“I have had no contact with Treasury other than being advised by the board that they are not going to participate in the R1.5-billion matching as was advised to you (Ventureburn) by Lungisa Fuzile previously,” he said.