Anglo American enterprise development arm Zimele reported on Tuesday an “overwhelmingly” positive response from small enterprises in its Green Fund, with over 100 responses since its launch in November last year.
Zimele committed R100-million over seven years to its Zimele Green Fund – an amount that could be increased if there were sufficient enterprises and buy-in from partners.
The development capital fund targeted investment opportunities in the so-called green economy, such as renewable energy, biodiversity, biofuels, conservation, agriculture, waste and emissions management, energy efficiency, climate change and water conservation.
It also focused on developing and funding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that promote and develop environmentally sustainable projects.
Zimele MD Nick van Rensburg commented that the significant interest the fund received in a short period pointed to the considerable potential and viability of the fund, and that business people were eager to make a real difference to South Africa’s green evolution.
The fund facilitated new investments in projects yielding both environmental and economic benefits and encouraging a greener way of thinking among the South African population. It also enabled communities to respond to key environmental challenges such as climate change and water security, as well as take advantage of opportunities in the green economy.
The company noted that, while it was confident of new projects joining the Zimele Green Fund by July 2012, the large number of interested applicants resulted in a lengthy process for funding approvals.
“It is important to note that approving projects of this nature takes time, as many applications are technically based, and first have to undergo a comprehensive review process before being approved. Zimele’s technical committee first has to approve technical plans and specifications before a comprehensive due diligence is conducted,” he explained.
Anglo American Zimele operated four other funds, namely the Supply Chain Fund, which focused on supply chain procurement and business development opportunities for black-owned SMEs; the mining-related investment fund the Khula Mining Fund; the Communities Fund, which supported entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communities in which Anglo American operated; and the Olwazini Fund, which was designed to assist women, the disabled and young people establish and run their own small businesses in the mining communities.