The South African government supports a number of funding programmes to encourage the growth of small, medium and micro businesses in South Africa.
Here, we offer an overview of the key government funding and support programmes available to small businesses, along with links so you can access more information or apply for funding yourself.
Incubation Support Programme (ISP)
Run by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), this programme offers financial assistance for existing SMMEs with the goal of nurturing and developing them into sustainable enterprises. They can assist your business with funding for business development, market access, equipment, infrastructure and operational costs.
Grants are capped at R10 million and approval is based on your projections for the year ahead. Information about the programme, as well as application forms, are available on the DTI website, and application enquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII)
Also run by the DTI, this programme focuses on supporting technological development in South Africa through financial support for the development of innovative products or processes.
The programme focuses on the developmental stage, from research to final prototype. The scheme has a grant limit of R2 million and fairly strict criteria for approval. Most importantly, the technology involved should represent a significant advance.
Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA)
SEFA offers financial and business support to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Through SEFA and its intermediaries, SMMEs and co-operatives can secure credit facilities, ranging from as little as R500 to as much as R5 million.
SEFA’s head office is in Centurion but it has offices all over the country where you can get more information and apply for funding.
National Empowerment Fund (NES)
The NEF was established by the National Empowerment Fund Act of 1998 (NEF Act) to support BB-BEE in a meaningful and sustainable way. It provides both financial and non-financial support to black empowered businesses. It also aims to help promote a culture of saving and investment in black communities.
The NEF offers three main services for black-owned SMMEs; project funding, asset management and fund management. You can send your application for funding to email@example.com, call the organisation on 0861 843 633 or email general enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Khula Finance Enterprise
Khula Finance Enterprise Ltd. was created and is run by the DTI. The company isn’t a business loan provider in the traditional sense. Instead, it facilitates small business loans from commercial banks and acts as guarantor, potentially covering a bank’s losses in the event that a lender defaults on a loan.
Your business must meet strict requirements to obtain a loan, but the loans themselves are more affordable, with lower interest rates, than standard bank loans.
You can email the organisation at email@example.com or call on 0860 054 852.
Small businesses at The Workspace
At The Workspace, we aim to go beyond simply providing affordable office space to offering small businesses real support in establishing and growing their companies.
For example, our Selby branch in the Jo’burg CBD offers innovative business advice and support, many of our branches host regular networking events and all our branches offer a range of on-site business services.