THE Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), tasked with driving economic development in the province, has approved a total of R46.7-million for disbursement to 64 companies through its Jobs Stimulus Fund.
Of this amount, R12.9-million has already been disbursed to 33 companies.
The money, which was approved through the fund, is aimed at the creation of sustainable new jobs in the province.
It is expected to create and retain 4670 jobs – 231 of these will be new jobs at the Discovery medical scheme service centre based at Coega.
Service centre executive Hennie van Staden said the company had received R2.31-million to date from the Job Stimulus Fund.
"We are using this money to assist with training and development as well as creating opportunities in 2013 and into 2014," he said.
Van Staden said since the service centre opened in 2011 it had created more than 250 new jobs.
About 99% are youth from the Port Elizabeth area with the average age of the workforce ranging between 23 and 24 years.
"We are looking at growing the service team to around 450 employees. The service centre is successful in that it services all our members, practices, brokers and employers.
"We also have a young vibrant culture who are eager to succeed and learn, and I think this contributes greatly to our success," he said.
ECDC chief executive Sitembele Mase said the financier was excited that it had been able to provide economic value for companies to create jobs through the Jobs Stimulus Fund.
"[We are] pleased that greater emphasis is also being placed on attracting companies outside East London and Port Elizabeth.
"In the third window of applications ECDC has approved companies from the former Transkei."
Mase said the corporation was also beginning to attract a healthy mix of big and smaller players in the private sector who were realising the value of the fund.
The Jobs Stimulus Fund was launched in October 2011 and is managed by ECDC to drive the job creation by incentivising businesses across targeted sectors to create new jobs. ECDC's role is to manage the funds, as well as perform all administrative functions including receiving, processing and adjudicating applications.
Qualifying businesses will be paid R10000 per job created. The fund is meant to create sustainable new jobs by attracting sector-specific investments across the value chain.