The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies together with First National Bank (FNB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Public Sector Banking, Kgosi Ledimo yesterday signed a pledge that will improve access to finance for Black Industrialists (BI) to fast-track accelerated economic transformation at a ceremony that was held in Johannesburg.
Speaking at the event, Davies outlined that the partnership will see the two entities share information regarding various products offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), with a focus on facilitating information-sharing regarding the dti’s incentive programmes.
“By committing to this agreement, we undertake to collaborate with FNB in marketing our incentives and other related programmes on their website, we will also put measures in place to evaluate applications for financial support that are referred or received through FNB. This partnership will improve access to finance particularly for businesses in manufacturing, thus ensuring government’s strategic objective of creating new role-players in the economy,” said Davies.
Ledimo expands on this “we have dedicated resources to assisting governments focus on growing entrepreneurship and involving a greater number of previously disadvantaged qualifying businesses. The MoU to disseminate information through the FNB website is a commitment from FNB, to show how serious we are with working with government in achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plan 2030.”
The dti has identified the Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS) as a pilot to initiate the proposal with a view to adding new incentives to previously disadvantaged and/or predominantly black-owned businesses.
“Through this programme, government hopes to contribute towards shifting the demographic composition of South Africa’s industrial sector and engage the under-utilised source of jobs, revenue, taxes and innovation, which are black Industrialists. Since its establishment last year, the Black Industrialists Programme has approved 52 projects for support, with a projected investment value of R4.5 billion; this has been co-funded with other financial institutions,” added Davies.
The long term goal with the dti and FNB is focused on enabling a greater number of South Africans access to the dti’s schemes and funding platforms through making this information more accessible through FNB’s platforms, starting with The Black Industrialist scheme.
“As a Bank, we model our response to market through our brand mantra – how can we help you? – and in response to the need to drive a much higher number of active entrepreneurs in South Africa, we continue to look for innovative ways of playing our part in enabling a better South Africa,” concludes Ledimo.