As the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) marks some successes with its Black Industrialist Programme, the department and financial institution First National Bank (FNB) have inked a deal that will pave the way for improved access to finance for black industrialists.
A collaborative pledge, signed last month by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies and FNB public-sector banking CEO Kgosi Ledimo, will facilitate information sharing on the DTI’s various incentive schemes, starting with the Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS).
Davies explained that the Black Industrialist Programme had gained significant momentum over the past year, with 52 black industrialists approved at a project investment value of R4.5-billion, opening up the opportunity for the creation of 9 000 jobs.
The programme aims to have bene- fited 100 black industrialists by March 2018.
“We are over halfway there,” he said, highlighting that versions of the pro- gramme were being mirrored in other industries, creating similar knock-on effects.
“By committing to this agreement, we undertake to collaborate with FNB in marketing our incentives and other related programmes on [its] website. We will also put measures in place to evaluate applications for financial support that are referred or received through FNB,” Davies said at the launch event.
Unpacking the pledge and its objectives, he added that the BIS would be used as a pilot to initiate the partnership, eventually opening up full access to the DTI’s various schemes and funding platforms through FNB.
It was hoped that other financial institutions would follow suit.
FNB was a pioneer four years ago when it opened up its online platform to the registration of companies in a partnership with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission. Other banks successfully implemented the same services shortly thereafter.
“We have dedicated resources to assist with government’s focus on growing entrepreneurship and involving a greater number of previously disadvantaged qualifying businesses,” Ledimo said of the memorandum of understanding, adding that it would fast-track the dissemination of information through the FNB website.