Government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have launched an online portal, providing businesses easy access to information on government incentives.

IDC’s head of development: Finance Department Meryl Mamathuba, says the portal gives businesses all the information they need on what is out there to help them sharpen their competitive advantage.

“It is important to establish sustainable enterprises to boost job creation and to increase the state’s participation in development. Ultimately, the aim is to promote private sector involvement in both the creation of productive capacity and research and development (R&D) in the country,” says Mamathuba.

She says the primary benefit for businesses is easy access to information and help.

“Businesses will no longer have to search through departments for government assistance programmes for their particular needs. It is all in one place. The site is easy to access and navigate.”

The three categories of state incentives, which include grants and tax breaks, include:

* Conceptualisation focusing on feasibility and R&D;

* Capital expenditure; and

* Competitiveness enhancement.

The first category of incentives is available to private sector businesses that invest in the creation, design and improvement of products or processes. There are eight sub-categories:

* Grants for small R&D projects;

* Grants for large R&D projects;

* R&D tax incentives;

* Grants for feasibility studies;

* Technology and human resources in industry programme (THRIP);

* SEDA technology programme;

* Technology venture capital fund; and

* R&D in the automotive industry.

The capital expenditure category offers incentives to companies that want to acquire or upgrade assets to establish or expand their capacity. These are incentives for:

* Small industry;

* Large industry;

* Critical infrastructure;

* Industrial development zones;

* Capital expenditure in the automotive industry;

* Foreign investment;

* Capital expenditure in the textiles industry; and

* Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement.

Competitiveness enhancement incentives are designed to increase competitiveness, sustainable growth and development in specific sectors. These are incentives for:

* Business process services (outsourcing);

* Black business supplier development;

* Export marketing and investment assistance;

* Sector specific assistance;

* Film production;

* Competitiveness in the clothing and textiles industries;

* Co-operatives;

* Female economic empowerment through Bavumile and Isivande Women’s Fund; and

* Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement.

“It is important that businesses take advantage of these incentives to maximise their competitiveness both locally and beyond,” says Mamathuba.