Initiatives encouraging entrepreneurs who address both socio-economic and environmental challenges in South Africa are becoming more common place. The most recent of these is a massive R300-million fund by risk financier Business Partners Limited.
Business Partners today announced the launch of its Green Fund, which Business Partners managing director Nazeem Martin explains, seeks to positively impact on the environment and simultaneously create wealth and jobs in the country.
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The Business Partners Limited Green Fund seeks to develop, grow and invest in sustainable businesses, enabling them to capitalise on opportunities in the green economy — especially in the clean and green technology, renewable energy, recycling sectors — and deliver on its inherent job and wealth creation potential.
Martin goes on to point out that the Green Fund aligns with the South African government commitment to unleashing the potential of the green economy. The New Growth Path, for instance, has identified the green economy as one of the six priority sectors to assist in reaching its target of five million new jobs by 2020.
Operating for over 30 years, Business Partners Limited has funded startups in the clean energy, agri-processing, biotech and ICT sectors. Earlier this year, the firm launched a R250-million fund to support women in business.
The Green Fund will provide expansion capital, as well as startup funding and property finance from R500 000 and up to R30-million. Martin explains that the type of businesses it will finance is diverse:
“We are seeking to finance businesses which actively develop, manufacture and provide goods and services aimed at saving the planet, as well as those businesses that are doing the right thing by implementing measures and/or technology which reduce their adverse impact on the environment.”
The Fund will have a dedicated team to support with the application process and entrepreneurs will have access to dedicated industry specific specialists. A R50 000 interest free loan is also available to qualifying entrepreneurs for technical assistance. For more information about the Green Fund, click here.
“Making up 91% of formalised businesses in South Africa and contributing for more than 60% of new jobs created, SMEs are a vital contributor to the country’s GDP and employment,” adds Martin. “We believe by equipping SME entrepreneurs to thrive in the ‘green economy’, we can enhance their contribution to the economy and the environment.”