Printing SA’s KwaZulu-Natal Chamber held its first business networking event for the year at the Westville Country Club on 20 February. Delegates found the workshops very informative.
The first talk was given by Gerard Busse, Marketing Manager for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) South Africa. He provided a brief background on the FSC, an overview of the importance of sustainable forestry to the natural, economic and social environments and its support of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
He explained the 10 Principles of Forestry Management contained in the FSC Forestry Management Standard and explained how FSC’s chain-of-custody (CoC) system operates. FSC Chain-of-Custody certﬁcation connects consumers to healthy forests by tracking products from forest to shelf. It ensures that FSC materials and products have been checked at every stage of processing, reassuring customers purchasing products sold with FSC claims that they are genuinely FSC-certiﬁed.
Any company involved in the transformation or processing of a forest-based product or wishing to apply the FSC label to their products and/or sell them with an FSC claim, must be FSC-certiﬁed. Paper and other print substrates made from trees are both renewable and recyclable, but only when they are responsibly sourced and sensitively processed. FSC-certified printers offer their clients the ability to demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing through the use of FSC-certified papers and the application of the FSC labels.
The different types of on-product-labelling were discussed and how one checks that a supplier and/or product is FSC certified on the FSC public database (https://info.fsc.org). He also discussed the growing awareness of Sustainability Standards amongst business and the general public.
The next speaker was Wiseman Nyeni, Regional Manager for the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) in KwaZulu-Natal. He explained the role of the DTI in assisting established and new businesses accessing funding. The Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS) is one such scheme that is a grant programme to unlock the potential that exists with black industrialists through deliberate, targeted and well defined financial and non-financial interventions. For the purposes of BIS, Black people are referred to as African, Coloured, Indian and Chinese people. They also need to be citizens of South Africa.
To qualify, industrialists must have more than 50% ownership, have either ownership or management control, take a personal risk in the business and make a long-term commitment to the business and lastly be a medium to long term investor. There are a number of industry sectors that qualify, including Pulp, Paper and Furniture, which of course was of particular interest to the audience.
In addition to the requirement already mentioned, applicants need to be a registered legal entity in terms of the Companies Act 2008 (as amended), be a taxpayer in good standing, have a valid B-BBEE certificate, be directly involved in the day-to-day running of the operation and have expertise in the sector that the business is involved in. The project may entail starting a new operation, upgrading an existing business or acquiring an existing business and requires a minimum investment of R30,000,000. Most importantly, the project should result in securing or increasing direct employment.
The BIS scheme offers a cost sharing grant ranging from 30% to 50% to approved entities to a maximum of R50,000,000. This means the applicant would have had to secure the remaining funding from another source such as his/her bank, the National Empowerment Fund or Industrial Development Corporation.
There are other more detailed requirements. Interested parties should request the ‘Programme Guideline: Black Industrialist Scheme’ from their local DTI office. The message from the speaker was that DTI wants to work with applicants so that their applications, motivations and supporting documents are technically sound before being submitted.
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