South African Government Grants

Government business loans

1 South African Government Grants options to choose from

Contents

  • What is a Government Grant?
  • Do you have to repay a Government Grant?
  • List of Government Grants for Business
  • Who can apply for Government Grants for Business?
  • Tips on applying for Government Grants for Business

The South African government is well aware of the importance of developing the economy, creating employment and attracting foreign investment.

To make these goals a reality, there are grants and assistance programmes available from the government and associated organisations that can get your business off the ground and expanding.

What is a Government Grant?

It is an award of funds from the government that does not need to be repaid, does not accrue interest, and has strict guidelines for application.

Grants available from the government usually tie in with its key deliverables such as black economic empowerment, job creation and developing the economy – to name some.

Do you have to repay a Government Grant?

Unlike a loan, a grant is an award of money that is non-repayable – meaning there is no obligation by the receiving parties to repay the money received. While the government is one of the best sources of grants, its selection criteria is strict and paperwork intensive, and the receiving business is obligated to spend the funds in a manner specified by the provider.

Most funds available in South Africa have their own specific requirements, so it’s advisable to research each fund carefully to assess their criteria and up your chances of receiving funding.

2 List of Government Grants for Business

Government business loans

The best place to start with researching government grants for business is through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). By visiting www.thedti.gov.za, you can explore a number of funding options from grants to incentives and all their qualifying criteria. Some grants available include:

1. Aqua-culture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP)

This programme is available to registered entities involved in primary, secondary and ancillary aquaculture projects for both marine and fresh water. It is approved for new, existing and upgrading entities. See more here.

2. Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS)

This scheme is designed to grow and develop the automotive industry through investment in new and replacement models and components that will increase production volumes, sustain and increase employment, and strengthen the automotive value chain. See more here.

3. Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)

This is a cost-sharing grant offered to black-owned businesses to improve their competitiveness and sustainability. It aims to fast-track small and micro-enterprises, foster links between black-owned businesses, corporates and public sector, and to complement affirmative procurement and outsourcing. It provides grants to a maximum of R1 million. See more here.

4. Business Process Services (BPS)

This scheme aims to attract investment and create employment in South Africa through off-shoring activities. It involves a three-year tax-exempt grant for qualifying businesses. See more here.

5. Capital Projects Feasibility Programme (CPFP)

The Capital Projects Feasibility Programme is a cost-sharing grant contributing to the cost of feasibility studies for projects that will lead to increased local exports and stimulate the local manufacturing sector. See more here.

6. Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP)

This is aimed at improving the infrastructure of South Africa. The grant covers a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 30% of total development costs of qualifying infrastructure. See more here.

7. The Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS)

This scheme is a 90:10 cost-sharing grant for registered primary cop-operatives of five or more members to improve the viability and competitiveness. See more here.

8. Incubation Support Programme (ISP)

This programme is designed to create and develop successful enterprises with the ability to revitalise communities and local economies. For more information visit this site.

9. The Manufacturing Competitive Enhancement Programme (MCEP)

Provides enhanced manufacturing support to encourage facility upgrades to sustain employment and improve productivity. See more here.

10. Manufacturing Investment Programme (MIP)

This programme is a reimbursable cash grant to local and foreign-owned manufacturers who wish to establish new facilities or expand on existing ones.

11. National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)

While it is moving away from grants for youth and going toward mentorship and development programmes, grants are available for youth entrepreneurs. See more here.

12. People-carrier Automotive Investment Scheme (P-AIS)

This is a cash grant of between 20% and 35% of the value of qualifying investment in productive assets approved by the DTI. See more here.

13. The Sector Specific Assistance Scheme (SSAS)

This scheme is a cost-sharing grant offered on an 80:20 principle and a maximum of R1,5 million is awarded to qualifying businesses. See more here.

14. Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII)

The Support Programme for Industrial Innovation is aimed to promote technology development in South African industry. Visit their site for more information.

3 Who can apply for Government Grants for business?

Government business loans

Because of the number of grants available – and each with its own criteria – you will need to individually research each grant. Generally through, the following will be required:

  • The business needs to be majority black-owned
  • It needs to have a significant representation of black managers (if applicable)
  • Minimum and maximum turnovers vary from grant to grant
  • The business must have a minimum of one year in trading
  • The business must be a registered entity with a tax clearance certificate, Vat number, etc.
  • The business must comply with all regulations such as CIPRO, SARS etc.
  • All owners and major shareholders need a clear credit history.

4 Tips on applying for Government Grants for business

Government business loans

Once you’ve identified a grant applicable to your business and industry, research it thoroughly to determine the qualifying criteria.

Each grant listed on the DTI website has a contact person you can call or email for more information.

When applying, make sure you’ve completed the following checklist:

  1. Completed and signed application form
  2. SARS Tax Clearance Certificate – Original and valid
  3. Detailed business plan
  4. Co-operative resolution (if applicable)
  5. List of directors, shareholders etc. complete with certified copies of IDs and CVs
  6. Copy of business registration certificate
  7. Motivational letter
  8. Bank statements
  9. Projected financial statements for start-up and/or expansion.

When applying for a Government Grant you will need to have a business plan. Here is a free business plan template to get you started.

Government business loans



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Veterans Affairs Small Business Loans & Grants

  • 1 [Small Business Loan] | How Disabled Veterans Can Obtain an Small Business Loan
  • 2 [Business Grants] | Veteran-Owned Business Grants
  • 3 [Small Business Administration Grants] | Small Business Administration Grants
  • 4 [Help] | How to Get Help for Veterans to Start a Business

The VA does not give grants or make general business loans to veterans. Both the VA and the SBA have programs providing veterans with business assistance.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not make general business loans to veterans. Although the Small Business Administration once offered the Patriot Express program for veterans, it expired in 2013. Neither the VA nor the SBA provides business-related individual cash grants to veterans. However, the federal government offers other kinds of business assistance to vets.

Government Assistance for Veterans

The government provides loan assistance to veterans and others related to special circumstances, such as the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which lends up to $2 million to eligible small businesses that have suffered economic injury because essential employees were called up for active military service.

The government has a portal, Grants.gov, that provides an overview of the kinds of government grants that are available.

Many nongovernmental websites purport to connect individuals with government grants. A few are legitimate, but many are not. The safest approach to learning about government grants – what they are, who is eligible and how to apply for them – is through the Grants.gov portal.

Government cash grants are generally limited to organizations, rather than individuals, and are targeted to accomplish specific government goals, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food programs for impoverished U.S. and foreign populations.

SBA Office of Veterans Business Development

One good place to start if you’re a vet looking for help starting or expanding your business is the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development, which serves as a portal to a number of SBA, VA and nongovernmental organization programs designed to help veterans, their dependents and survivors. These programs include training, business counseling and mentorship. From the OVBD home page, you can access such government programs and agencies as:

  • Boots to Business, which offers two different classroom courses to help you develop a business plan. Both the two-day and the eight-day course provide specific advice on getting your business started.

These are only three of the more than 30 agencies and programs available through the OVBD portal. Some are general programs that are available to all vets; others, like Dog Tag Bakery, are designed to help specific veteran groups.

Grants. gov

The best place to find out about federal, state and NGO grants that veterans can apply for is the Grants. gov website. Rather than actually providing grants, the website gives information about government grants in general – what they are designed to accomplish, for example – and gives descriptions and one-click access to various grant-giving agencies. While veterans may not receive government grants directly, they may benefit from grants to organizations that provide veterans and specific groups, such as disabled veterans, with various kinds of assistance.



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True Story: Why You Don’t Want a Business Plan Writer

It’s been years since I was making a real living off of business plan consulting (I migrated to business plan software instead), but I had an exchange last week that reminded me of one of the biggest problems – and most common misunderstandings – related to business plans.

Not that you, in your situation, should never hire a business plan writer, consultant or coach. In some cases that’s a good idea. But let me explain that after I tell this story.

One of my first engagements in business planning was as business plan consultant to a startup with three experienced founders. I met with them several times, listened always, and did their business plan. I built the financial model, wrote the text, and produced the document as a business plan document. But I wasn’t part of the team. I wasn’t able to promise to go full time. I was just the business plan writer.

It was a good startup. It had a good idea and, much more important, a market window, differentiation and experience to make it happen. The three founders had about 40 years of computer company experience between them. And it was a good plan too.

But there was a problem with the plan: The founders didn’t know it. They thought it was enough to have a plan, but it wasn’t. In every meeting I attended along with the founders, when there were critical questions, I had to answer them. I knew the plan. They didn’t. It was my plan.

And, in fact, the plan failed. My clients didn’t get financed, and the venture never launched. Of course I was disappointed because I spent a long time developing and revising that plan. I repeatedly changed financial assumptions and revised text.

So here is my advice about hiring a business plan writer, consultant or coach:

The best business plan is one you do yourself. Hiring out is threatened by the fact that good business plans in real business use last a few weeks at best. Business planning is about regular review and revision.

Consider hiring somebody from the outside only if you have the budget for it. It is conceivable that you don’t want to do it yourself and your time is better applied to other business functions. Cheap business plan writing strikes me as about as good an idea as cheap surgery, cheap dentistry, or discount sushi.

If you do hire somebody, look for a relationship more like coaching than consulting. Hire somebody who shares expertise and experience, makes suggestions, but doesn’t do the task so you don’t have to.

Don’t believe ever that having a business plan written is any good for more than a few short weeks. Business plans get old and useless very quickly. If you don’t have one you can keep alive, then you don’t have one at all.

About the Author:

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