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Government agencies support businesses to re-start
Government committed to helping businesses restart
Government agencies are working hard to assist businesses that were destroyed during the recent civil unrest to re-start their operations. This was evident during the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) Information sharing webinar hosted by Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal on 19 August. 

The webinar saw various stakeholders present available financial and non-financial support to promote sustainable local economic development.

Phakamile Madonsela from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) said they have assisted several businesses with an interest free loan facility. The loan will enable businesses to resume operations and save jobs. 

Businesses that have been assisted include several restaurants located in uMlazi Mega City, Bridge City Shopping Centre in KwaMashu and in Durban Central, fuel stations in KwaMashu and Riverhorse Valley, a design shop at uMlazi Mega City and a pharmacy in Durban Central. 

“In total, over 300 employment opportunities will be restored by these companies,” he said, adding that the loans have a payment holiday of up to 12 months. Thereafter, payments are over a 60-month period. 

“Approximately 30 percent of the loan provided is to be converted to a grant after 12 months if the business can demonstrate that it has retained the same staff levels as prior to the civil unrest. An additional benefit is continued free access to business skills training,” said Madonsela. 

He encouraged SMMEs to take advantage of opportunities and funding solutions available at development financial institutions. 

He said they have over 30 investment professionals deployed on the ground in all 11 district municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal to assist business owners collate their documents and apply. There is no closing date for applications, subject to funding availability.

Businesses located in the eThekwini district who require assistance with the NEF application can contact 078 877 3023, 084 606 1685 or 083 295 6201. 

Thula Mkhwanazi, Regional Manager at the Small Enterprise Finance Agency said their Business Recovery Support Programme has set aside R300 million to assist 150 small enterprises affected by the unrest. 

Mkhwanazi said theirs is a blended finance with a combination of a 60 percent grant and 40 percent loan. 

Funding queries can be directed to BRP hotline on 0860 663 7867 or 0861 843 384 or email: info@dsbd.gov.za. Alternatively, visit any Small Enterprise Development Agency branch office before the application closing date on 31 August. 

Mkhwanazi said there is further funding of R53 million set aside for informal traders and approved applicants will receive a R3 000 grant. 

He said KZN Nedbank branches have trained personnel to assist with the application of this grant. Informal traders can go to any branch to do individual application or apply via traders association who will then submit bulk applications to sefainformaltraders@nedbank.co.za
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