R1 billion for new SME Fund

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says R1 billion will be allocated to the newly announced fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as government makes a push to empower small businesses, especially those in the townships.

The Deputy President said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on Wednesday.

“As was announced in the [Medium Term Budget Policy Statement] by the Minister of Finance last week, a new fund for small business and innovation will be established which will be allocated R1 billion in 2019/20.

“The National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy is also available to help township enterprises upgrade their business activities,” he said.
The Deputy President was responding to a question from ANC NCOP MP from the Eastern Cape, Mandla Rayi.

The Deputy President said the government provides financial support to youth-owned businesses through the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), the National Empowerment Fund and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

He said over the past financial year, the IDC approved R2.3 billion funding to youth empowered businesses, which are those with more than 25% youth equity ownership.

“Last year, SEFA reported that it approved funding of R222 million to over 10 000 youth-owned businesses showing that the focus is on helping to empower youth-owned businesses.

The Deputy President said many township entrepreneurs were restricted from opportunities in the major commercial centres of the country, relegated to being small business players in the townships and in the rural areas.

“Many small businesses located in our townships have already received loans and industrial funding to enable them to entire new markets and also to expand their businesses and to expand their operations,” he said.

The Deputy President said last year, disbursements from SEFA totalled around R1 billion and this was targeted towards township businesses as well as rural businesses.

The Deputy President also said that through the Competition Commission’s market inquiry into the grocery retail sector, the government is looking specifically at the competition spaza shops face from larger malls and the factors that may limit growth of the township grocery retail market.” – SAnews.gov.za

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