On the 21st of May 2014, Theo Meintjes, Chairman of the Incentive Consultants Association and owner and managing Director of Dectra (Pty) Ltd, came to share his experience in consulting for companies willing to benefit from the numerous financial incentives and grants offered by the DTI.
About the DTI
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is based in Pretoria. It offers more than twenty different cash grants and subsidies, each of them focusing on a particular sector, type of product, type of company or profile of applicant.
There are regional offices but when it comes to the application to grants and subsidies, it is more efficient to deal directly with the main office in Pretoria. It is possible to phone the DTI directly, but sending emails is more likely to be successful.
When launching an assistance program, the DTI publishes guidelines of the program. Those very detailed guidelines are the main source of information for applicants. Those guidelines are in turn approved by minister of Trade and Industry, and subsequently validated by the treasury. Each programme lasts around six years and is generally reviewed, reformed or suppressed after six years.
The guidelines for assistance program are accessible online. Follow this link to access the online version of each programme’s guidelines.
About consulting services in the incentive industry
There are no manuals or textbooks to learn how to successfully launch an application for a grant by the DTI. Experience and knowledge of the DTI’s mechanisms, requirements and habits are key factors for a fruitful application.
Consultants have this experience and skills, and as Theo Meintjes and Christophe Viarnaud emphasised during the event, going to the DTI without a consultant is not likely to be successful.
However, the choice of the consultant remains a key aspect. There is no registration or accreditation systems by the DTI or any official organization guaranteeing the experience, skills or integrity of the consultants.
However associations of consultants do exist and it is strongly recommended to use the services of consultants forming part of associations such as the Incentive Consultants Association.
Applications processed by consultants represent between 90% and 95% of all applications going to the DTI.
The DTI’s grants, subsidies and financial assistance programmes
The grants offered by the DTI always represent a certain percentage (varying from a fraction to almost 100%) of a determined cost or investment. Grants are never paid in advance but pay back achievements and successes. Applying for a grant is a two-stage process consisting first of an application and subsequently of a claim for expenses requiring proves such as receipts, invoices, testimonies, reference checks etc.
A minimum period of trade is generally required. Grants are never paid in advance to subsidise a project still at the stage of idea.
Focus on Export Marketing and Investment Assistance: an opportunity for export promotion for your business!
Companies willing to export the product they manufacture, or the engineering service or software they provide can apply for EMIA incentives. Their business needs to be established domestically (12 months trade history) and export-readiness of the applicant is a key-aspect for a successful application.
This incentive is particularly popular in the wine industry, whether for exhibitions taking place abroad of for inward buying missions.
Different costs subsidized.