If your manufacturing business is in need of a boost, come June 4 the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) may be able to assist you. That is the day when applications open for its newly launched Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP).
On Tuesday the dti held a workshop at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways to explain to Gauteng manufacturing players how they could participate in and benefit from the MCEP.
According to Mlungisi Mthimunye, director of product development for the dti, the MCEP was created to "improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in SA but also to help businesses retain jobs and create opportunities to create additional jobs".
The programme offers two types of assistance to businesses: production incentives and industrial financing loan facilities.
Production incentives include capital investment, green technology and resource efficiency improvement, feasibility studies and cluster competitiveness improvement, while the loan facilities consist of the pre-and post-dispatch working capital facility and the Industrial Policy Niche Projects Fund. What you need to qualify
To qualify for either assistance, "the applicant must be a registered legal entity in SA, achieve at least level four B-BBEE contributor status, have existing manufacturing operations in SA and the approved project may not result in a reduction of the base-year employment levels," Mthimunye said.
If applicants have not reached a level four B-BBEE rating yet, they can still qualify for the assistance if they present a plan to the dti which explains how they will go about achieving the rating in the next four years. They can also apply for more than one of the assistance packages simultaneously.
If their application is approved they will receive a grant from the dti, which is sourced from the National Treasury, and is calculated as "a percentage of the applicant's average manufacturing value-added (MVA)."
The dti has R5.75bn to hand out to businesses and all applicants have to do is visit the dti website on June 4 and fill out the online application form under the financial assistance tab.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies officially launched the MCEP in Cape Town on May 15 2012 and the dti is now holding workshops in every province before the application opening to inform businesses across the country of the new initiative.