SCALE – Supporting Creatives and Accelerating Local Enterprise

The initiative will see 200 South African craft and design entrepreneurs benefit from bespoke training and mentorship specifically designed for creatives


The Craft and Design Institute (CDI) is a non-profit company with over 20 years of success in developing creative people, small businesses and the craft and design sector at large in South Africa. The SCALE programme aims to provide growth-oriented informal enterprises looking to grow their revenue, increase their personal income or employ new staff with grant support, access to markets, training, and mentorship.

This project is supported by the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund and applications opened in February 2023. The SCALE programme brings together a suite of tried and tested services from CDI to support the growth of self-employed business owners in the informal segment of the craft and design sector.

“In designing the project intervention, the CDI has drawn on its 20 years of experience in the sector in successfully delivering market access, capacity development, and in more recent years, financial support to creative enterprises nationally,” says Erica Elk, Group CEO of the CDI.

The project is also supported by contributions from existing funding partners of the CDI, such as the City of Cape Town. It will add value to the agglomeration of services supported by other funders of the CDI, such as the national departments of Small Business Development and Sports, Arts and Culture, the V&A Waterfront and others.The CDI has for a decade had projects supported by the Jobs Fund, and in previous programmes funding has been specifically for larger, more formal businesses.

The SCALE programme is different – it is designed for those who may be operating more informally and have an annual turnover of under R1m. It has been designed to reduce barriers – entrepreneurs don’t need to have a registered business, and it enables them to grow personally as entrepreneurs no matter where they are in their business development.

“The SCALE project is a first for the craft and design sector – and we are casting the net wide to support 200 entrepreneurs across South Africa, ” Elk said.

Support offered through SCALE covers the most cited main areas of need identified by individual business owners in this segment: access to markets, finance, and capacity development.

Individual Business Assessments will be offered to successful applicants to assist in creating a roadmap. This will be followed by three months of specially designed training (via online learning), the facilitation of participation in the CDI’s national product market platform, and the development of an intervention/action plan for the R23 000 grant disbursements. The grant can be used to purchase equipment and/or other professional services.

The first cohort of 100 selected entrepreneurs will start on the programme in April 2023.



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