Timbu.com, a Mauritian travel site, has announced plans to invest $500k in support of the South African Government agenda. The travel agency, focused on African destinations, is currently a market leader in Nigeria and other West African countries and now aims to grow its presence in South Africa by bringing in foreign direct investment.
The Timbu funding will be exclusive to innovative startups solving real issues in the hospitality niche, with most of the focus being on startups around the curated travel (one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry). However, there are plans to expand into other niches down the line.
Making the announcement, the company's media representative said the need to begin investing in early-stage startups in South Africa was borne out of the need to grow the existing tech ecosystem in the country, in support of the government's plan to improve the tech entrepreneurial space, and provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow the country's startup scene. She further noted that Timbu looks to provide more than just initial investment. "We intend to reinvest any profit realised from our initial investment to create physical and online spaces that will help tech entrepreneurs collaborate and grow", she said.
In the last quarter of last year, Timbu rolled out plans to provide employment opportunities for unemployed South African youths. Sequel to that move, the acclaimed Travel Agency is bringing in FDI to South Africa in response to the government's ongoing plan to "target funding for ideation, proof of concept, early stage market entry and business scale-up," as stated by the Minister of small business in charge of the initiative Small business and innovative Fund (SBIF). Timbu projects that the growth of local businesses will accelerate and the government will be able to build a solid structure around the development to facilitate further growth.
As Timbu moves to initiate talks with relevant government officials to make this happen, it is their hope that a profitable agreement would be reached soon, in order for startups in South Africa to begin enjoying direct government support.