Calling SMEs to apply for CDI funding

The Craft and Design Institute (CDI) has opened the second round of applications for the R12.8 million CDI Growth Fund, which is geared to boost the growth of small businesses and ensure job creation.

The grant fund is specifically for South African small businesses that need a cash injection to enable them to scale up and create jobs.

Since its launch in 2017, the fund has already helped 38 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have collectively created over 160 jobs.

A success storyZikhona Tefu received funding form the Craft and Design Institute to grow her business.

O’live makes a range of quality handmade soaps and other products, using only natural and locally-sourced ingredients. The company, owned by husband and wife team Sipho and Zikhona Tefu, is one of the fund’s success stories.

In 2011, Zikhona started making natural soap in her kitchen to help their daughter who had eczema and couldn’t use store-bought soaps as they made her skin extremely dry and her eczema flare up.

“After a lot of research, our journey into making skin-loving soaps and balms started. We didn't want to look further than our ‘backyard’, so we started sourcing only local oils,” said Zikhona.

The soap is not made from pre-bought melt and pour bases, but is lovingly made in small batches, using the cold-processed method, in O’live’s studio in Woodstock, Cape Town.

 “With the support that we have received from the CDI Growth Fund over the years I was able to turn the turn the business from a home-based hobby into a full business. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that this would be possible,” said Zikhona.

“The CDI’s workshops have been amazing. I spent the past two years with a mentor, who I saw every month. I could never have afforded a business coach or mentor but because of the CDI, I got that support and was able to put financial and work systems in place,” she added.

Managed by CDI Capital, the fund was incorporated as a CDI subsidiary in 2016 to catalyse funding for SMEs. Funding comes from the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, the Technology Innovation Agency and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

The CDI Growth Fund is open to South African-owned businesses that operate in the country and are at least one year old with a turnover or assets above R1 million.

The deadline for applications is 12 July 2019. For more information and to apply, visit

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