Unpacking key drivers of SA enterprise development success

Project name:
Impact evaluation on selected enterprise development projects

Monitoring and evaluation

Public and Social

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

The Government Technical Advisory Centre (National Treasury)


South Africa

The Jobs Fund is a R9-billion challenge fund, launched by the South African National Treasury in 2011, that aims to catalyse job creation in South Africa.

The fund operates through four distinct funding windows:

  1. Enterprise development (ED),
  2. Infrastructure investment
  3. Institutional capacity building
  4. Support for work seekers.

The ED window, which makes up approximately 60% of the fund’s portfolio, is aimed at partnering with the public and private sector to establish or expand ED programmes that incubate and grow job-creating enterprises across a variety of sectors. The Jobs Fund is now in its eighth funding cycle.

In order to explore and capture lessons around which ED models work best and why, as well as to better understand the impact that has been achieved through the ED window to date, the Jobs Fund appointed Genesis to conduct a comprehensive review of the entire ED portfolio and an impact evaluation of three selected ED projects. The three projects selected for evaluation were:

  • Craft Design Institute (CDI)
  • CuraFin Owner Driver Programme
  • Microsoft BizSpark.

In analysing the ED portfolio as a whole, it emerged that there was significant variation in the type of support offered by different ED models falling under the same name (for example “incubator” and “accelerator”). This posed a particular problem when attempting to compare different ED programmes and draw conclusions about which models work well, and in which contexts.

To mitigate this problem, the evaluation team identified a set of five core support elements that are common across all ED programmes, and used this as the analytical framework, by which to compare and contrast different ED programmes. This provides a degree of granularity not possible when simply categorising by type of model. The five ED elements were identified as:

  • Access to markets
  • Access to finance
  • Access to infrastructure
  • Provision of business development service
  • Training and mentorship.

The Jobs Fund has subsequently adopted this framework to guide the selection of projects during its current and future funding rounds.Together, the evaluation and portfolio review has produced insights into the relevance, effectiveness, scalability and replicability of ED models that are applicable to a variety of audiences including ED practitioners, SMMEs, governments and funders of ED programmes. These findings and recommendations have been documented in a set of best-practice guidelines for ED, available at the link below.

Jobs Fund Enterprise Development Learning Brief


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