Four months on, what has become of the SA government’s startup fund?

Featured image: Government ZA via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0 , resized)
Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba briefs Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of his forthcoming visist to the USA for the IMF World Bank Spring meeting and his meetings with the rating agencies at the Deputy President's official residence OR Tambo House in Pretoria. South Africa. 18/04/2017. Siyabulela Duda

Four months after it was announced, the National Treasury and two government departments remain mum on a R1-billion startup fund. The fund was announced in October last year by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba (pictured above, right) announced in his 2017 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Speech in October that the Department of Small Business Development and Department of Science and Technology, together with support from the treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Centre would set up a fund that “focuses specifically on startups”.

At the time Gigaba did not mention how much had been set aside for the fund. The following week while answering questions at the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured above, left) said, “a new fund for small business and innovation will be established which will be allocated R1-billion in 2019 and 2020”.

Though he provided the response in detailing what the government plans to do to boost the township economy, it is not clear whether the fund will target township entrepreneurs alone, target all startups or just a particular kind of startup company.

According to an official at the DST, the fund is an initiative of the Treasury, which is ‘providing the necessary support to the Ministers’

Since then the Treasury has remained silent on the initiative.

In a bid to ascertain how the fund will be administered, and how far along the fund is, as well as when the fund will become operational, Ventureburn contacted the Treasury, the Department of Small Business Development and the Department of Science and Technology.

Neither the spokesperson for the Department of Small Business Development Cornelius Monama and the department’s chief of staff Linton Mchunu responded to emailed questions and phone calls from Ventureburn.

On contacting the Department of Science and Technology, one of the department’s communication’s officer’s Lunga Ngqengelele referred Ventureburn to the Treasury, as “they are the people who are working on this, including providing the necessary support to the Ministers.”

On contacting the treasury yesterday, Ventureburn was told by Treasury media liaison Ntsakisi Maswanganyi that the publication’s questions had been set to a senior treasury official. However, by time of publication today, the Treasury had not responded to request for comment.

Featured image: Government ZA via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0 , resized)

Daniel Mpala


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