- The Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF) is giving grant funding of up to R800,000.
- The DISF funds innovative ideas that are not commercially ready.
- This kind of funding happens at a key stage in the development of innovation.
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The Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF) is giving grant funding of up to R800,000.
The fund, which is a project of the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) and is managed by CDI Capital, has disbursed R15.8 million in grant funding since its establishment in 2014
The DISF funds designers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and product developers who have innovative ideas, which are not commercially ready.
The goal is to give them a leg up in proving that their ideas can work.
The fund was set up to help these individuals and businesses, as they "are not able to raise funds easily from traditional banks or funding agencies because of the high risk associated with early-stage innovation."
CDI Capital said in a statement: "The seed funding assists recipients to understand their opportunities by designing and building prototypes; and validating their assumptions around the technical and market-related challenges."
Group CDI CEO Erica Elk said this kind of funding happens at a key stage in the development of innovation.
"Ask any innovator what holds them back from developing their new products and growing their business – and they will tell you: the resources that give them the freedom to take the next steps."
Elk said this was exactly why the DISF was providing this funding. It wants to give them seeding that would take them to the next phase and launch them on a path towards commercialisation.
"Very few of the fantastic South African inventions supported over the last eight years by the DISF would have seen the light of day were it not for a fund like this."
The DISF gets funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and support from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).
So far, 26 projects have been completed, with the portfolio generating R139 million in further investment for participating businesses. About R71 million in revenue has been generated and 256 jobs created.
The idea is to replicate the success of projects like GoMetro, a mobility management technology company, which now generates R60 million in annual revenue, and has 87 people on its payroll.
GoMetro CEO Justin Coetzee said the funding provided by DISF was key to its success.
“It enabled us to offer a product concept, build it in prototype form, and do some customer development and field work.”
Applications are open for the funding is open from 8 July 2022 until 5pm on 31 July 2022, and can be made via the website cdicapital.co.za/disf.
The fund has listed the following eligibility criteria:
- Early-stage small and medium enterprises/entrepreneurs/researchers
- Students at tertiary institutions as long as the institution does not already have an Intellectual Property claim to the product/service.
- Pre-revenue businesses in incubation or entering incubation, or existing SMEs with new products/innovation that is still pre-revenue.
- SMMEs must have a valid Tax Clearance Certificate for the company or individual applying in their own capacity
- South African citizens with valid South African Identity Documents or legal entities controlled by South African citizens with valid South African Identity Documents or permanent residents who hold a valid RSA ID document.