Top 15 Non Repayable Small Business Grants in South Africa (2024)

Numerous non-repayable small business grants in South Africa can be utilized by entrepreneurs to scale their ventures to another level. As the name implies, these are unique funding meant to support small business growth in the country, and the business is not required to pay back.

List of non repayable small business grants in South Africa include the Small Enterprise Finance Agency Fund (SEFA), the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), The Small Enterprise Development Agency Fund (SEDA), the Limpopo Economic Development Agency Fund (LEDA) and the Department of Trade & Industry Funding amongst others.

15 Non-Repayable Small Business Grants in South Africa

1. Small Enterprise Finance Agency Fund

Since its inception in 2012, SEFA has been dedicated to aiding startups and small businesses. The fund is one of the non-repayable small business grants in South Africa. Their support encompasses providing grants, loans, or facilitating access to external funding. SEFA’s offerings are tailored to assist micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, with a special emphasis on encouraging cooperatives and survivalist enterprises that require support for growth.

SEFA’s loans cover a broad range, extending from R500 to R3 million, and are disbursed directly to business owners. This direct disbursement holds significance within a business sector frequently excluded from the conventional banking framework in the country.

2. National Empowerment Fund

One of the core non-repayable small business grants in South Africa is what is available from the National Empowerment Fund. Successful folks can get between R250 000 and R75 million. Its mandate involves providing both financial and non-financial support to businesses owned by black individuals.

Funding determinations are informed by the Industrial Policy Action Plan and encompass diverse sectors. Start-ups have the potential to secure funding of up to R10 million. Additionally, the NEF extends support for rural and community development, franchise finance, and the advancement of new industries.

3. The Small Enterprise Development Agency Fund

SEDA, an expression of the Department of Trade and Industry, exists to provide entrepreneurs with guidance, training, and aid in navigating the steps necessary to secure funds, including the creation of business plans. Before you can be considered, your business must be registered by relevant authorities, and it must also operate in the country.

4. Limpopo Economic Development Agency Funding

LEDA was created to expedite job generation and advance economic progress in the region. Its function involves providing business loans to facilitate these objectives, and you should apply if you are eligible.

5. Department of Trade and Industry Funding

The government provides DTI funding to small businesses across various industries, to foster economic growth, encourage fair competition, boost the entrepreneurial landscape, and expand the range of economic prospects for the public.

Incredibly, there are different incentives available for different businesses to benefit from. The agency has put in place various measures to assist those who need them in different sectors. There is the Capital Projects Feasibility Program for ventures that deal in local exports, the Automotive Investment Scheme to help develop the automotive sector, the Aquaculture Development Enhancement Program that is given to registered entities engaged in aquaculture activities, etc.

6. Industrial Development Corporation Funding

The Industrial Development Corporation gives necessary resources to businesses that need money to start or expand their business. While there is currently no official application form for this funding, here are the things you must do to access the funding:

– Create a thoroughly researched business plan that presents a compelling argument for securing funding.

– Complete the online registration or submit your plan at the IDC offices. It is very important to ensure one’s application includes all necessary documents and certificates. It should also be noted that IDC will acknowledge receipt of your documents.

– Give the officials sufficient time to review your submission. Note that they might request additional information or documentation. It should also be noted that you will receive feedback from the agency regarding your application’s status. If a business is approved, relevant officials will conduct due diligence.

7. National Empowerment Fund

The NEF, brought about by the South African Government in 1998, aims to enhance and encourage public involvement in business and entrepreneurship. It provides both financial and non-financial assistance to businesses owned and managed by black individuals, while also fostering a culture of saving and investment within this community.

NEF offers various forms of support, catering to different businesses in different sectors. To apply, the very first thing you must do is to go to the agency’s website. There, you will be able to download the NEF funding application form. After downloading, fill out and submit the form.

Then, the application will be reviewed by appropriate officials, and if approved, your application will be presented to the investment committee for endorsement. Upon endorsement, NEF will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your business. Afterwards, the final report will be resubmitted by the relevant officials. Following that, the necessary legal processes will take place and you will get your money.

8. Seed Fund – TIA

The fund aims to accelerate the commercialization of viable intellectual property originating from South African higher education institutions’ technologies. There are only 3 major stages from application to approval. The first step is to apply and submit your application through the online investment system.

Funding applications undergo evaluation based on specified criteria. After submitting the complete application, an assessment is conducted to verify the inclusion of all required information for further review. After this, the next stage is the “Due Diligence” stage which has to do with opportunity evaluation in some areas. Finally, we come to the approval stage which is always based on the availability of funding.

9. National Youth Development Agency – NYDA

Here is another non-repayable small business grant in South Africa that can be utilized by young folks in particular. The program assists young entrepreneurs through non-repayable business grants and non-financial business development support. Its goal is to empower young entrepreneurs to either start or expand their businesses.

10. Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa (IIPSA) – Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA)

The Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa offers inventive financing by combining EU grants with loans from participating Development Finance Institutions in the country.

Extensive infrastructure investment is frequently recommended as a proven method to stimulate economies soon and generate substantial societal advantages over the long haul. Given South Africa’s notable unemployment rates and the considerable portion of the population facing labour market exclusion, the nation requires industrialization and infrastructure expansion to underpin its endeavours in enhancing employment opportunities and alleviating poverty.

The Infrastructure Fund responds to the requirement for combined financing to facilitate the effective implementation of socio-economic infrastructure initiatives in the country. The goal of the Infrastructure Fund is to revolutionize public infrastructure by creating tailored blended financing approaches that draw and merge funds from the private sector, institutional investors, development finance institutions, and multilateral development banks.

In partnership with key stakeholders such as the National Treasury, ISA, and project owners, the Infrastructure Fund aims to lead the effective implementation of South Africa’s infrastructure development plan. This will align with principles of good governance and procurement systems that prioritize fairness, equity, cost-effectiveness, competitiveness, and transparency.

11. The United Nations’ Youth Entrepreneurship Fund

If you are a young small business owner, you can benefit from this Fund. It was crafted to supports young entrepreneurs globally by providing grants, mentorship, and resources. It aims to empower youth-driven businesses that contribute to sustainable development, innovation, and job creation.

12. The Global Innovation Fund

Here is another global platform that invests in innovative social enterprises and projects worldwide. By providing grants, equity investments, and expertise, it helps scalable solutions address pressing global challenges, from healthcare to education.

13. The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme

This is a transformative initiative empowering African entrepreneurs. It offers training, mentorship, and non-repayable grants to startup businesses across various sectors, nurturing a new generation of African business leaders.

14. SheTrades Investment Program

Here is a platform empowering women entrepreneurs globally. It connects women-led businesses with investors, offering financial support, training, and networking opportunities.

15. Women’s Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative

We-Fi is a collaborative effort supporting women entrepreneurs in developing countries. Backed by governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector, it provides funding and resources to empower women-led businesses, fostering economic growth, job creation, and gender equality.


In Conclusion

There are hundreds of non-repayable small business grants in South Africa, and a handful of them are aimed at specific sectors and certain types of businesses.

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