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R300m fund to advance ‘ecopreneurship’

A RDP house in Mfuleni has been built completely "Green" (Eco-friendly) using wind-turbines and and solar power. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

A RDP house in Mfuleni has been built completely "Green" (Eco-friendly) using wind-turbines and and solar power. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Published Oct 14, 2015

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Cape Town - Risk financier Business Partners on Wednesday launched a R300 million Green Fund to help finance sustainable businesses and projects that impact positively on the environment, while creating wealth and jobs.

“We recognise the huge market potential of the green economy opening new and growing opportunities for both large businesses and small and medium enterprises alike,” MD of Business Partners, Nazeem Martin, told guests at the launch in Cape Town.

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The Business Partners Limited Green Fund seeks to develop and invest in sustainable businesses, enabling them to capitalise on opportunities in the green economy, especially in the clean and green technology, renewable energy and recycling sectors.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Report showed the greening of economies could create a new engine of growth and job creation.

Martin said the South African government has committed to unleashing the potential of the green economy. He pointed to the Department of Economic Development’s New Growth Path, which has identified the green economy as one of six priority sectors to assist in reaching its target of five million new jobs by 2020.

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Martin noted South Africa, the 12th largest carbon emitter globally, is reported to account for nearly half of Africa’s carbon emissions.

“Given its rich alternative energy sources, the country has the potential to reduce its unsustainable levels of carbon emissions through increasing the renewable (solar, wind and, to a lesser extent, hydro) component of its energy supply mix,” he said.

“And, the knock-on effect for economic growth and job creation from investing in these new alternative energy sectors will be substantial.”

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The government is seeking to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by the year 2020, by which time it aims to have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs in its effort to green the economy.

These policy initiatives, especially when combined with government requirements on high levels of local content, create many opportunities for SMEs, particularly within the component manufacturing and service industry sectors.

And, according to Martin, “a great deal of innovation is required from private sector financiers to seize the market opportunity created by government’s green economy plans and policy frameworks”.

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The new Green Fund, which would have a dedicated support team, would give entrepreneurs access to dedicated industry-specific specialists as well as providing start-up funding, expansion capital and property finance from R500 000 and up to R30 million.

It would provide support and funding to a diverse range of businesses, ranging from renewable energy providers to energy or emissions savings product and service providers, recyclers, waste managers and green building service and product providers.

The fund will also consider financing businesses working to conserve natural resources, protect ecosystems and biodiversity, and businesses producing healthier food sources.

“Ultimately we want to support those businesses that are making a difference,” said Martin.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

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