Agency Development and Support

Vision, Mission, Objectives, Principles

The ADS promotes local economic development ADS promotes local economic development


To be "the primary driving force of commercially sustainable industrial development and innovation to the benefit of South Africa and the rest of the African continent".


The IDC is a self-financing national development finance institution whose primary objectives are to contribute to the generation of balanced, sustainable economic growth in Africa and to the economic empowerment of the South African population, thereby promoting the economic prosperity of all citizens. The IDC achieves this by promoting entrepreneurship through the building of competitive industries and enterprises based on sound business principles.


  • To support industrial development capacity; and
  • Promote entrepreneurship

The Agency Development and Support (ADS) department is a department within the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) responsible for the establishment and facilitating of funds and support for public local economic development agencies. The agencies have been designed to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors and other development organisations at a local level. Currently, ADS is funding 34 agencies that are in various stages of establishment.

The ADS department supports the IDC's overarching strategic direction through the implementation of its Vision, Mission and Objectives in all the nine (9) provinces of South Africa – which is in alignment with the following IDC's outcomes:

  • Sustainable employment;
  • Regional equity;
  • Environmentally sustainable growth;
  • Growing sectoral diversity;
  • Growing the SME sector;
  • Broad-based black economic empowerment; and
  • Ensure new entrepreneurs enter the economy.

A key element of the department achieving the above outcomes is the creation of conducive local environments to mobilise investment and activity that can create sustainable employment including:

  • Linking the public, private and community sectors - promotion of strong social dialogue to focus stakeholders on growth and employment creating activities (social capital formation);
  • Supporting job creation initiatives;
  • Enhancing local and regional competitiveness and social equity; and
  • Supporting broader based participation in the economy (economic transformation).


Taking into account ADS's mandate in relation to the projects it is undertaking, the department has set the following core principles on which to operate:

  • Social capital
    A key element in the creation of integrated sustainable development is the role of social capital. Social capital is the connection within and between social networks that enable people to act collectively. Social relationships and networks serve as a form of capital because they require investment in time and energy, with the anticipation that individuals or groups can tap into these resources when necessary. The more individuals and groups invest in these resources, the more they are likely to benefit in the future. Social capital is a key resource for community economic development as it can be used to aggregate and leverage other development assets. It is for this reason that ADS needs to incorporate social capital into the operations of various agencies.

  • Creating sustainable communities
    Another central concept impacting on ADS is the need to promote holistic and integrated sustainable communities. Sustainable communities are places where people want to live, work and play. Places that meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents. The sustainable communities that ADS strives to create through its supporting agencies include: active, safe and inclusive communities with a strong local culture; environmentally sensitive communities; well-connected communities with good transport and communications infrastructure; and well-serviced by public, private and community amenities.

  • Innovation
    A new spirit of innovation and creativity is being nurtured within the IDC. New and "out-of-the-box" solutions are actively being sought to address the persistent challenges of poverty and underdevelopment. It is thus incumbent upon ADS to think and act beyond the confines of what can be termed "normal business" practice.
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