This week the SA SME Fund announced that it is planning to set up a R150 million university technology fund to support the commercialisation of intellectual property developed at South Africa’s tertiary institutions.
According to Engineering News, the SA SME Fund does not invest directly, but rather channels its resources to establish investment companies specialising in venture capital, growth or impact investing.
“The fund is deliberately focusing a good deal of its attention and resources on venture capital, owning to the underdeveloped nature of the sector in South Africa,” said CEO, Ketso Gordhan.
Engineering News adds that fifty of South Africa’s largest companies have injected R900 million into the fund, while the Public Investment Corporation has contributed R500 million which it manages on behalf of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
“The SA SME Fund aims to launch by August, and is South Africa’s first dedicated financing scheme for university technologies, as well as a new biotechnology fund,” added Gordhan.
Furthermore the publication adds that of the initial R150 million being set aside for the university technology fund, R25 million will be earmarked as seed capital to help the inventors improve the commercial viability of their product or concept.
“A fund-of-funds model will be used and the selected fund manager will consider prospects in engineering, information and communication technology, biotechnology, medical devices and even space technology,” concluded Gordhan.