The Tourism Conservation Fund (TCF), in cooperation with SANParks, has announced the opening of its second funding window – part of the TCF’s Inclusive Business Linkage Fund – following the successful closure of the first in July 2018.

The mission of the Inclusive Business Linkage Fund is to “enable, replicate and scale commercial linkages between established companies operating across the wildlife-tourism value chain in and around SA’s threatened conservation areas, and small and emerging businesses operated by people in neighbouring communities who have been historically excluded from such opportunities”.

Through this, the Fund aims to ensure that commercial, income and employment benefits that derive from viable wildlife parks and conservancies are more widely distributed. 

The second funding window will focus on facilitating SME linkages with private concessionaires operating in SA’s national parks, with the aim of supporting established concessionaires operating across the wildlife-tourism value chain – be they lodge operators, retailers or service providers – broadening their supply and service chains for the benefit of entrepreneurs operating from neighbouring communities. 

The funding model extends once-off, limited-duration grants to qualifying applicants, which will enable co-investment in commercial partnerships between themselves and small and emerging enterprises.

This aims to be a catalyst for commercial sustainability of participating SMEs across a period of two years, with grants of up to R150 000 (€9 088) being extended to qualifying applicants on a 1:1 matched funding basis.

CEO of the TCF, Paul Zille, concludes: “The Tourism Conservation Fund presents us with a perfect opportunity to fulfil the goal of implementing tangible programmes to ensure that we leverage more value for communities and entrepreneurs who have been historically excluded from opportunities linked to our parks. The TCF reflects a commitment to a partnership-based approach – working with communities, parks authorities and private investors – to test, develop and scale new approaches which tackle the underlying causes of poaching and social disruption on our borders: poverty, exclusion, and the lack of shared value.”