A number of online resources for South African entrepreneurs make it easier to start, manage and grow a business. Here we offer a round-up of resources (with links), ranging from essentials like the CIPC and SARS to highly rated, free online software that could make it easier to run your business.
The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission
The Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) is responsible for registering all South African businesses.
This is where you go to register a company.
To simplify the registration process, private and non-profit companies with standard memorandum of incorporation can register directly through the CIPC website.
Alternatively a number of service providers offer fully managed CIPC company registrations.
South African Revenue Service
For the best, most reliable information about all tax-related issues, go direct to SARS.
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) website provides information, forms and advice for SMEs.
This includes information on how to register for turnover tax, VAT, PAYE, UIF, SDL and income tax. It also includes information on eFiling.
SA SME Fund
If you need capital – whether to get a business up and running or to expand your existing operations – you can apply for funding from the SA SME Fund.
This R1.5 billion fund was set up by a group of CEOs, including representatives of nearly three-quarters of the JSE’s top 40 companies. It was created specifically to provide high-potential entrepreneurs and SMEs with funding.
The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) offers a wide range of loans to South African SMEs.
It also manages the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme, which offers funding to entrepreneurs with disabilities.
Vertex42 provides useful free, high-quality templates. These include spreadsheet, timesheet, budget, invoice and payroll templates.
You can also make use of their calculators and calendars.
Templates are available for Microsoft Office, Open Office and Google Sheets.
The SME Toolkit South Africa
The SME Toolkit South Africa is a joint initiative between Business Partners Limited, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and IBM.
The website offers information, financial tools, business forms, document templates and other resources to help you run and grow your small business. Access to the site is free.
Wave is one example of a cloud-based software suite for small businesses.
A reason we recommend it as a resource for small businesses and startups? It’s 100% free.
The software makes it easy to create professional invoices and receipts, track transactions and run reports.
ZipBooks is popular accounting software. It’s useful for essential bookkeeping, invoicing and billing.
Paid versions of the software are offered. However, it features in our list of online resources for South African entrepreneurs because of what you can use it to do for free.
Using a free account, you can:
- send unlimited invoices
- manage unlimited vendors and customers
- accept digital payments
- view basic reports
- connect one bank account.
Business Days Calculator
Business Days Calculator is a useful, no-frills tool for identifying working days and public holidays in South Africa.
You can check business days in the current year or a previous year you choose.
It also lets you calculate the number of working days, and even the number of work hours, between dates you set. This is useful if you’re doing nitty-gritty planning to meet a deadline.
At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services.
We also offer our own online resources for South African entrepreneurs, including useful articles about everything from starting and funding a business to impressing clients and managing small business marketing.