The City of Johannesburg launches R250 million fund to assist SME contractors

Posted on May 4th, 2016

Today's top entrepreneurship and business stories (4 Ma

The City of Johannesburg in partnership with Standard Bank of South Africa, have launched R250 million rand Working Capital Fund (WCF) to assist contractors with working capital to fulfill their contractual obligations to the City of Johannesburg and their municipal owned entities.

Funds invested may be used for asset acquisition and working capital.

Kgamanyane Maphologela, Group Finance’s Director of Customer Communications says the strategic objective of the Working Capital Fund is to contribute to socio-economic development within the City.

“A central principle of the Working Capital Fund’s funding philosophy is the collaboration between Standard Bank and the City of Johannesburg to find innovative equity funding solutions to meet the unique requirements of the City’s SMMEs and Co-ops,” says Maphogela.

The Working Capital Fund will focus mainly in the following sectors: information communication and technology (ICT), manufacturing, retail, health, transport, property/construction and green infrastructure and sustainable projects.

Maphologela says however, the sector focus will be dependent on the needs analysis to be undertaken by the City together with Standard Bank.

To qualify businesses must meet the definition of small enterprise, be based and operating in the City of Johannesburg, be up to date with their municipal rates and taxes as well as with SARS, and there should be significant potential for growth (in sales, profits and shareholder value) based on a clear strategy and scalable business model.

Applications for potential beneficiaries to be considered will be done through the Business Development Suppliers (BDS).

Seedstars World partners with Standard Bank in search for SA’s best startup.

Seedstars World, the global seed-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, is returning to South-Africa to find the best startups from across the country.

In partnership with Standard Bank, Seedstars World will host pre-selection events in Cape Town, Durban and Soweto and invite the top 3 from each city to the grand finale hosted at the Standard Bank Incubator in Johannesburg.

In line with its mission to place the spotlight on entrepreneurs from emerging markets, Seedstars World is travelling to 65 countries this year to identify the best seed-stage entrepreneurs and provide them with an opportunity to win up to US $1 million and network with investors and mentors from around the world. Its previous participants have raised over USD $61 million collectively, providing employment to more than 400 employees worldwide.

Applications are open now on for the pre-selection events held in Cape Town on May 27, Durban on June 8, and Soweto on June 14. Companies applying need to be less than 2 years old, have raised less than US $500,000 in funding and have built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction. The Seedstars World team is searching for one additional criterion – the startup’s regional and global scalability.

Innotribe selects 12 semi-finalists to compete in the second annual African Startup Challenge.

Innotribe African Startup Challenge, the showcase for financial technology startups from across the region has selected its 12 semi-finalists. They are: from Kenya, Alternative Circle, an app based marketplace to enable financial Institutions to lend capital directly to end users, BitPesa, a bitcoin trading platform and Ranis Capital, a marketplace to leverage customer invoices to provide low cost short term financing.

Fintech startups from South Africa are Hello Paisa, a low cost international money transfer solution for remittances, Stock Shop which builds white label and bespoke financial products targeting millennials, The Money School which offers effective employee financial education and The Sun Exchange, a peer-to-peer lending platform for investors to fund solar energy projects across the globe.

Two Cameroonian startups made the cut: WeCashUp, a cross border mobile money platform, and AMoney which enables cross border payments and unifying mobile wallets using blockchain.

Rounding up the finalists is Uganda’s Yo Uganda a mobile payment platform and Nigeria’s CashMadam a mobile sales, and inventory management system combined with advanced analytics to help SMEs.

These companies will now pitch their new products in Mauritius on 18 May, during the SWIFT African Regional Conference. The event attracts up to 500 high-level delegates from more than 40 countries and is a unique platform for discussion, debate, and high-level networking for the African financial community. It also represents a great opportunity for the local startups to meet face to face with potential investors, partners and customers.