Seed Fund Programme

General summary of the Seed fund:

The TIA Seed Fund Programme (SFP) has two sub-programmes with their own nuances: the first is a partnership with Higher Education Institution( HEI) partners to assist their own researchers, innovators and spinout companies overcoming the challenge to access funding to achieve the same objectives; and the second sub-programme is the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) Seed Fund which partners with implementation incubators and development agency partners across South Africa.

The objectives of the Seed Fund Programme are:

 

  • To assist HEIs, SCs and SMMEs to advance their research outputs and ideas to develop prototypes, proof of concept and
    business cases that could be used for further development
  • To de-risk research outputs by enabling the entrepreneur, researcher and SMME to inform their opportunities that will bring them closer to securing follow on funding from TIA and/ or other funders
  •  Funding Mandate fit with the relevant Seed Fund sub-programme

Parameters:

  • Grant funding up to R 650 000 per application
  • TRL 3 to 7 No basic research  Alignment with fundable activities
  • SMMEs SFP have to have a valid Tax clearance certificate for the company or individual applying in their own capacity.
  • TIA reserves the Right of First Refusal for follow on funding.

 

  • Grant funding up to R 650 000 per application
  • TRL 3 to 7 No basic research
  • Alignment with fundable activities
  • SMMEs SFP have to have a valid Tax clearance certificate for the company or individual applying in their own capacity.
  • TIA reserves the Right of First Refusal for follow on funding.

 

Governance Model:

  • Eligible applicants will work through the relevant Seed Fund Partner: TTOs and Research Offices at HEIs, and SMMEs apply directly to our partner incubators or regional Development agencies. Partner’s role is to advise applicant according to institutional policies and Fund mandate.
  • Partner-based Investment Committee decides to fund the project, prioritises applications according to own objectives and criteria, sets conditions to the funding award and assists with the monitoring and evaluation of the progress  Partners institutions provide a secretariat role to the Investment Committee, ensures there is audit trail, project monitoring and evaluation
  • Partners institutions provide a secretariat role to the Investment Committee, ensures there is audit trail, project monitoring and evaluation

Higher Education Institution Seed Fund Programme

  • To fund University and Science Council – linked innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Outcomes of basic research  Supports the intended impact of the IPR Act  Contracted partnership with every HEI (through TTO and RO)
  • To fund University and Science Council – linked innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Outcomes of basic research
  • Supports the intended impact of the IPR Act  Contracted partnership with every HEI (through TTO and RO)

Fundable activities:

  • Initial proof of concept
  • Prototype development
  • Sourcing of IP opinions
  • Production of market samples
  • Refining and implementing designs
  • Conducting field studies
  • Support of certification activities
  • Piloting and scale-up and techno-economic evaluation
  • Detailed primary market research
  • Business Plan Development
  • Exclusions: No payment for institutional salaried staff.

 

Technology Transfer Offices manage the funds with involvement of Seed Fund Committee. Staff employed by higher education institutions cannot be paid and no bursaries or employment of students is permitted, except for defined project hours. The programme allows for human capacity development.

SMME Seed Fund Programme

TIA implements the SMME Seed Fund Programme to enable and support technological innovation and entrepreneurship among qualifying SMMEs based in the various Provinces of South Africa. This Programme is implemented in collaboration with regional partner agencies with which TIA has entered into Memoranda of Agreement specifically to implement the Programme. TIA provides funding and partner institutions provide non-financial and incubation support to recipients. Qualifying SMMEs applicants work through the relevant Seed Fund Partner based in Province.

Fundable activities:

  • Business Plan Development
  • Prototype development and evaluating prototypes against customer requirements
  • Turning prototypes into pre-production products (scale up and piloting)
  • Activities leading to technology co-development
  • Licensing of technology to manufacturers and for distribution
  • Transfer of technology for development and manufacture
  • Design development and support of certification activities through SABS or equivalent
  • Purchase of hardware for scale-up from prototypes and
  • Supporting IP protection maintenance costs

 

Exclusions: working capital and human resource costs except with software development – human capacity needed for project duration.

 

Assessment Criteria and requirements:

  • Stage of business: pre-revenue, revenue generating
  • Valid tax clearance certificate: Personal (pre-incorporated company) and/ or business
  • Can demonstrate clear customer/ market need and can demonstrate some market potential
  • Because of high risk, would not qualify for funding from traditional banks or funding sources
  • Project plan has to align with fundable activities
  • Potential to create competitive, new intellectual property

 

How to access funding:

  • HEI: University Tech Transfer Office /Research office
  • SMME: Regional development agencies partnered with

Eastern Cape: Propella based in Port Elizabeth
SMME: Regional development agencies partnered with
Eastern Cape: Propella based in Port Elizabeth
Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) based in East London
Western Cape: Savant- based in CT
Cape Design Institute based in CT
Kwa-Zulu natal: SmartXchange based in Durban
Invotech based in Durban
Gauteng: Innovation Hub
Limpopo: LEDA