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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 29, 1998 — The International Finance Corporation will invest up to US$1 million to help establish a center to support entrepreneurship and small business start-ups through the South African Business Incubator Center (SABIC).
SABIC is the result of a concept that was developed locally and will provide small businesses with space, shared support services and access to business development services, such as financing, marketing and management assistance. By encouraging the creation and growth of small businesses, the project will help to generate jobs and empower indigenous entrepreneurs, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The sponsor is Business Partners, a South African organization which has developed several business incubator centers that group together small businesses in traditional industries such as garment-making and light manufacturing, metal works and carpentry. Business Partners has gained considerable experience in developing specialist capacities in maintenance, on-site management, administration, rent collection, and legal expertise.
Mr. Cesare Calari, Director of IFC's Sub-Saharan Africa Department said that, by providing a supportive micro-environment and reducing the time and expense necessary to establish their operation, SABIC will play a strong role in helping new businesses grow and survive during the critical start-up period when they are most vulnerable. IFC would like to replicate the concept in other parts of Africa, he added. SABIC is IFC's first investment in a business incubator center and follows extensive exploratory and technical assistance work in Africa and Eastern Europe by IFC.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
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