Cape Town – Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says the Black Industrialist Programme has already supported 46 projects ever since it was launched last year.
The Minister said this when leading a debate on the department’s 2017 Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Black Industrialist Programme, founded in March 2016, was launched with the aim of supporting 100 Black Industrialists by 2019.
“I am happy to report that as of now, we have approved 46 projects run by Black Industrialists, with government agencies, including the Department of Trade and Industry, Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation and National Empowerment Fund, deploying over R2 billion in financial support on top of R122 million in grants from the department,” Minister Davies said.
The Minister said the support has allowed the Black Industrialists to undertake investment projects worth R3.7 billion.
The investments are projected to create more than 8 000 direct jobs and close to 12 000 indirect jobs.
“We have now decided to accelerate the implementation of the programme to support 100 Black Industrialists. Instead of reaching this milestone by March 2019, we now intend to reach this target by the end of the current financial year, that is, March 2018,” Minister Davies said.
The Minister’s announcement also comes after government recently announced that Cape Town-based pet food manufacturing company, K9 Petfoods, which is the first 100% black, women-owned benefactor of the Black Industrialist Programme, opened a manufacturing plant in the Western Cape.
Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said K9 Petfoods has had a major breakthrough in market access with Woolworths.
“K9 Petfoods has been given a long-term contract to supply Woolworths with pet food. Woolworths was buying pet foods from Australia but it will now be buying pet food from [K9 Petfoods],” the Deputy Minister said.
He said that out of the 46 projects that have been supported so far, four were youth-owned.
Beneficiaries of the Black Industrialist Programme have gone through a rigorous test to ensure that they are genuine manufacturing enterprises, who have met the identified criteria of ownership and personal leadership and who have placed their own funds at risk in developing their businesses.
“These Black Industrialists are a welcome reminder of South Africa’s tenacity and unbowed entrepreneurial spirit, even in the challenging economic circumstances we find ourselves in,” Deputy Minister Magwanishe said.
Minister announces new R1 billion fund for agro-processing
Minister Davies, meanwhile, announced the establishment of a sector-specific fund to help the agro-processing sector in terms of job creation and enterprise development.
“Given the importance of agro-processing for jobs and enterprise development, I am pleased to announce that we have set aside R1 billion to fund a sector-specific incentive for the agro-processing sector in this financial year.
“The incentive will support both brown and green field investments, encourage investment in up-and downstream support services, and for the expansion of infrastructure to be used by farmers and agro-processors,” he said.