Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Photo: Mxolisi Madela.

Pretoria - Black entrepreneurs are to benefit from a multi-million-rand Transnet supplier development fund launched in Pretoria on Friday.

The newly-established Godisa fund is a collaboration between Anglo American's enterprise development arm Zimele, Transnet, and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the project highlighted government's interest in bringing entrepreneurs into the mainstream economy.

“The state is putting very significant funds into industrialisation,” he said.

“This underlines the emphasis, the importance we attach to small business development. We need to bring more entrepreneurs into the economy.”

“Godisa” is a Setswana word which means “to nurture or to grow”.

The R165 million fund is intended to empower Transnet's black-owned suppliers.

Each of the three institutions contributed R55m towards the creation of the fund, which will be managed by Zimele.

The project will offer loans and capital advances for the development of Transnet's black-owned suppliers in the manufacturing and services sector.

Over a 10-year period, R150m will be used for investment financing and the remaining R15m will be used to provide support services.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said government was on a major drive to procure goods and services locally, particularly from small to medium enterprises.

“The president has given us a directive to ensure that 75 percent of the goods and services procured by the state... must be procured locally to support the development of local industries.”

Gigaba urged young people to apply for funding under the scheme.

“I think it (the Godisa fund) is a historic initiative and marks the start of higher levels of collaboration between key stakeholders in the South African economic sector to achieve our industrialisation and transformation objectives,” he said.

“I further challenge the private sector to implement more of these initiatives so that we can expand opportunities for black, young, and female entrepreneurs to be able to pursue their objectives in the field of small business development.” - Sapa