Government Funding

Access to finance is one of the biggest hurdles to small businesses in South Africa. In response to this, government has set up a number of funding instruments that provides assistance to build sustainable businesses through its different departments and agencies. Below is the summary of funding instruments from government’s agencies:

Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA)

Sefa has a number of funding products available specifically to assist SMMEs and Cooperatives needing finance. Their aim is to help start, sustain and grow SMME’s. Finance range is from R50 000 to R5 million, dependent on requirements and stage of business.

Start-loans: Loans offered through Direct-Lending to survivalist non-financial co-operatives for working capital e.g. for small orders from government departments, municipalities and private sector.

Sefa Direct Lending Products

These are loans that sefa provides directly to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises as well as Co-operatives operating in all sectors of the economy. The facilities range from a minimum of R50 000 to a maximum of R15 million.

Asset Finance

Bridging Loan

Revolving Loan

Amavulandlela Funding Scheme

The scheme is targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises and co-operatives with at least 50+1% ownership by entrepreneurs with disabilities. The disabilities will have to be verified. The scheme will offer entrepreneurs with disabilities the standard credit facilities ranging from R50 000 up to R 5million at a preferential fixed interest rate of 7% per annum.

Sefa Wholesale Lending Products

Through its wholesale lending, Sefa provides facilities (debt/equity) to intermediaries, joint venture, partnerships (Specialised Funds) and other collaborative relationships to extend sefa’s reach of making funding available to small businesses across South Africa. Loans to intermediaries up to R150 million. Loans through intermediaries to end users up to R5 million.


National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

The NEF is a driver and thought-leader in promoting and facilitating black economic participation by providing financial and non-financial support to black-owned and managed businesses, and by promoting a culture of savings and investment among black people. NEF funding is currently obtainable from the following funds:

Women Empowerment Fund (WEF)

This fund is aimed at encouraging black women in business. Only 34% of SMEs in South Africa are women-led, even though women make up around 50% of the population.

Apply for between R250 000 – R75 million

Basic Criteria to apply:

  1. 51% black women owned
  2. Operational involvement
  3. Commercial viability
  4. Ability for the business to repay WEF funding
  5. Job creation potential

iMbewu Fund

This is aimed at new businesses or expanding of existing businesses.

Apply for between R250 000 – R10 million

Basic Criteria to apply:

  1. 50.1% black owned
  2. Active black management involvement

Entrepreneurship Finance  – For people starting a new business, or growing a business that already has revenue

Rural and Community Development Fund

This fund aimed at, among other things, including aspiring rural entrepreneurs. Covering a wide range of industries including agri-processing, eco-tourism and rural non-farm activities.

Basic Criteria to apply:

  1. 50.1% black owned
  2. Active black management involvement

Arts & Culture Venture Fund

This fund provided affordable loans to start or expand small business promoting and developing arts and culture.  Apply for between R250 000 – R5 million.

Basic Criteria to apply:

  1. 50.1% black owned
  2. Active black management involvement


No fees are applicable to apply for small business funding.

Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)

TIA’s focus is on technology development; from proof of concept to pre commercialisation. To achieve this, TIA established the following funds: the Seed Fund, the Technology Development Fund, and the Commercialisation Support Fund.

Seed fund – The main purpose of the Fund is to enable innovators to evaluate, demonstrate and advance the value proposition and commercial potential of their research outputs. The Fund therefore contributes towards de-risking research outputs in order to increase the pipeline for TIA and other funders.

Technology Development Fund –  The Technology Development Fund provides funding to advance technologies from proof of concept to technology demonstration.

Pre-Commercialisation Fund – The Pre-Commercialisation Support Fund assists existing or potential individual entrepreneurs and Small Micro Medium Enterprises to obtain funding to support pre-commercialisation activities including the development of production/service capacity to levels that will support operational sustainability. This further include, market testing and validation of the technology in the potential customer environment, as well as bridging finance in preparation for commercialisation. 


National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)

The NYDA Grant Programme is designed to provide young entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access both financial and non- financial business development support in order to enable them to establish or grow their businesses.

Type of businesses grant amount ranges:

  • Idea generation and survivalist (start-ups) R1,000 – R10,000
  • Start-ups PTY and cooperatives R10,001 – R50,000
  • Growth stage PTY and cooperatives R50,001 – R100,000
  • Expansion stage PTY and cooperatives R100,001 – R200,000*

*for agriculture and technology related projects the maximum threshold is R250,000.00

The Voucher Programme is a business support programme aimed at assisting young entrepreneurs by providing one-on-one business development support to access quality business development services through NYDA approved business consultancy service providers thereby enhancing their participation in the mainstream economy.

Young entrepreneurs access this service through vouchers, which range from R6 600.00 to R19 800.00. No contribution fee required for young entrepreneurs to participate in the programme. Each registered entity, is entitled to a maximum of two (2) vouchers as per business development phase.

A voucher is used to purchase business support services from approved service providers.


Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

Aimed at supporting economic growth and industrial development, this is an institution out of the National Economic Development Department.

This is for small, medium and start-up businesses wanting to apply for funding from R1 million – R1 billion.

Slightly different criteria for each application.

To apply:

You need to sign up to get access to apply –

Contact IDC Here

Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF)

Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF) is an exclusive women’s fund established by the dtic and implemented by Identity Development Fund (IDF), to provide more affordable, usable and responsive finance to enterprises and thus accelerate the economic empowerment of women.

Customised loans within a range of  R30 000 – R2 million.


  • Black owned and managed (51% or more); or
  • Black women and managed businesses (51% or more); or
  • Black youth owned and managed (51% or more)
  • Must be at least 6 months in business