Applications for Seed Capital Grant closed, interview of applicants to start in May






Over 200 applications for the startup Seed Capital Grant have been received for this year now that the deadline for submission has passed.

Applicants will be called in for interview in May, the committee which manages the grant scheme has said.

“The applications received are being classified but we are hopeful that in May the committee will start calling in the applicants to be interviewed and if all goes well, by mid June we will start issuing the seed money,” Brian Nicette, the chairperson of the committee said on Friday while giving the media an update on the grant scheme.

The Seed Capital Grant Scheme was introduced last year by government as startup capital or collateral to help at least 100 applicants as preliminary financial development support when starting their own small business enterprises.

A sum of R5 million has been earmarked to be disbursed each year for the first five years through the scheme under which a candidate obtains up to R50,000.

Following its introduction in June last year, 278 applications were received and from that the 100 applicants who qualified have already received their money while those who did not qualify have received their notification letter.

Mr Nicette explained that four applicants have applied for less than the R50,000 and if this year there are applicants who applied for less, the committee will be able to help another two or three persons above the set target of 100.

He pointed out that a score sheet of 100 points is used by the committee to choose the best projects and those applicants who did not succeed the first time, their applications are reviewed by the committee which met with them and provide them help and advice as to how to better develop their business ideas by doing more research, market study and later resubmit their proposal.

“We guide them and coach them as to how best to further improve on their ideas to make their business more viable so they stand a better chance to succeed the second or third time around,” Mr Nicette pointed out.  

He is encouraging people to come forward with their business ideas and seek help and guidance to better develop their ideas.

The Seed Capital Grant is managed by a committee of seven members from different sectors chaired by Mr Nicette under the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Entrepreneurship Development.  

As the money is a grant, applicants do not have any repayment obligations but Mr Nicette has said that monitoring and evaluation of businesses which have received the grant last year will start soon and applicants are being advised to use the money for the purpose it was allocated.

Applicants who use the money for other reasons other than specified in their business plan are being advised to inform the committee through a written notification and if through monitoring it is found that the money has been used  for personal use, they would be asked to refund it.

“We need to carry out the monitoring for auditing purposes as well as to submit to the Cabinet of ministers and other concerned authorities,” Mr Nicette noted.

He further added that there are applicants who have already given a report to the committee on how they are progressing on their projects.

For his part, Peter Roselie, a business consultant and member of the committee, remarked that applicants have to be responsible and use the money wisely to make a good start for their business while bearing in mind that it is public money which has to be accounted for.

With regard to the different projects submitted for the startup funds, he said there have been some very good ideas and initiatives but there have been those which need a lot more research.





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