Putting ideas to the test


The unit has helped businesses establish pilot projects that are of a strategic nature, are sustainable and which will serve to generate economic activity.

The unit recognises that business ideas need to be nurtured in order to become viable.

We provide advice on how to go about establishing projects and consider funding various business-related studies in the form of business plans, feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments.

Projects will benefit from the unit's willingness to explore entrepreneurial ideas, take calculated risks on new ideas, to conduct investigations and in-house professional services.


Our services

We will offer you the necessary support by: 

  • providing finance for business plans and pilot projects
  • assisting with the facilitation of the project by linking people with other service providers, funders, government departments and municipalities
  • providing a range of innovative business advice.


Our priority sectors

Our priority sectors include:

  • Agriculture
  • Agro processing
  • Tourism
  • Property Development.


Generally, most projects are of a greenfield nature and include primary production; however, we consider turnaround strategies for existing businesses wishing to diversify, expand or seek growth opportunities. 

Viable ideas supported by a business plan are more readily supported.


How to access these services

  • Once the concept document is received, ECDC conducts a preliminary analysis.
  • If a concept document is not yet in place, the unit will assist the applicant to draw one up. Thereafter the unit, the applicant or a third party or any combination of these parties will develop a business plan.
  • If the business plan indicates the concept is not viable, no further action is taken.
  • If the concept indicates viability, funding will be considered by ECDC through its project development committee. The unit may also assist the applicant in accessing third party funding.
  • If ECDC funding is approved, the contractual elements will be discussed and formulated through a Memorandum of Understanding, Heads of Agreement and Acknowledgement of Debt.
  • Once these contractual arrangements are in place, ECDC funds will be advanced.


Our assessment criteria

Our criteria for assessing a project include:

  • the viability and sustainability of a project
  • management skills of the entrepreneur
  • black economic empowerment involvement
  • findings of a due diligence report
  • availability of a market and support of the project by the relevant municipality.


You will be required to provide a business plan or at least a concept document to the unit in order for our team to make a proper assessment of the project. 

Should the project managers require business skills development, the unit will refer you to ECDC's Development Services Programme.

Should you also require assistance with accessing markets, the unit will then refer you to ECDC's Trade and Investment Promotion Unit.


The costs involved

  • Our loans are interest-bearing
  • Repayment schedule based on projected cash flow
  • A fee of 2% is levied on capital requirements of large projects, depending on our involvement.



Phakamisa George

Telephone +27 (0) 43 704 5600

Email pgeorge@ecdc.co.za