R24-million initiative for South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi to support entrepreneurs in cultural and creative industries


The Embassy of France and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) has announced the open call for emerging entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries to apply for Création Africa, a R24-million initiative to empower and support emerging creative and cultural enterprises in South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi.

The Embassy of France and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) has announced the open call for emerging entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries to apply for  Création Africa, a R24-million (about K2.2 billion) initiative to empower and support emerging creative and cultural enterprises in South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi.

Ten years after South Africa’s Cultural Season in France, a new milestone has been reached in cementing the partnership between France and Southern Africa. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna announced during her visit to South Africa in June 2023 the establishment of Création Africa: South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi, a multimillion-rand programme to support and upscale cultural entrepreneurs in the three countries.

It’s a groundbreaking initiative by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, coordinated by the Embassy of France and IFAS. Création Africa is part of a continent-wide French investment to bolster the cultural and creative industries.

Through a funded mentorship, incubation and immersion programme, Création Africa will strengthen the networks, skills and capabilities of creative and cultural entrepreneurs and enterprises. Equally significant, Création Africa will establish connections to foster deeper cultural understanding and stronger bonds between France and the three nations.

“It gives us enormous pride and pleasure to expand our partnership with the people of the region,” says David Martinon, Ambassador of France to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi. “This is delivery on a mandate to accompany entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries of South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi and build fruitful enterprises in the creative economy.

“Supporting and nurturing cultural and creative entrepreneurs is paramount for fostering innovation and sustainable growth.”

The Embassy of France in South Africa announced the appointment of UVU Africa as Création Africa’s local incubator partner.

“I am thrilled to share our partnership with the French Embassy and Création Africa incorporating the growing regions of Lesotho and Malawi, in addition to South Africa,” says Lara Rosmarin, head of entrepreneur development and incubation at UVU Africa. “This customised incubation programme is designed to foster the development of cultural entrepreneurs and creative minds who play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamic cultural landscape of the sector.

“In conjunction with the French Embassy, our goal is to establish an ecosystem that nurtures the flourishing of cultural entrepreneurs, enabling them to make a lasting impact on the global stage.”

The Embassy of France in South Africa has called for emerging entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries to apply for Création Africa incubation. Forty projects will be selected for the mentorship programme, 12 of which will be chosen by a jury panel to go on to an intensive incubation process. Incubation will be customised to meet the particular needs of each of these 12 projects. Additionally, it will include opening access to business networks and investors, and strategic business guidance.

The 12 incubated businesses will receive financial support (in the form of grants) from the Embassy of France in South Africa. Grant size will be determined by the specific needs of the emerging entrepreneurs and will be calculated to support business and project growth.

Eligibility for application is open to all entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries, including but not limited to, visual and performing arts; music; design and fashion; publishing; architecture; advertising; gaming; third places; multisectoral projects; and software development. Applications are open and will remain open until January 26, 2024.