This 2013, South Africa has been working double time to create and implement incentives and schemes that would encourage small businesses. The country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) aims to create a more competitive environment for small businesses to flourish against larger corporations and foreign brands.
The Small Business Options
With the help of the government, interested South Africans who want to start their own business can apply for grants under the different programs of the DTI. A few of them are:
Under the Black Business Supplier Development Programme, which is one of the programs under the DTI, more grants were approved with an increase of almost 1,000 new grants worth 451 million rand from a previous 96.6 million rand. The Black Business Supplier Development Programme or BBSDP is a cost-sharing scheme available only to African black business owners. The maximum allowable grant under BBSDP is 1 million rand and 80% of the funds have to go to tools and machinery while the remaining 20% on training, business development, and business operations.
The Cooperative Incentive Scheme is another option for South Africans under a similar cost-sharing plan. With the Cooperative Incentive program, the existing primary cooperatives in South Africa qualify for a 90-10 cost-sharing scheme. Primary cooperatives must have at least 5 members majority of whom are South African blacks and working under the following industries: Business Development Services, Machinery, Technology, Commercial Vehicles, and Infrastructure Support.
This 2013, the number of grants approved under the Cooperative Incentive Scheme were 70% more than last year or 182 approved grants worth 85 million rand.
DTI also has several programs under their women’s empowerment portfolio like the Isivande Women’s Fund which is a financing scheme to help women start, expand, or rehabilitate a business, and buy or set up a franchise. The Seda Technology Programme is a financial assistance program based on technology transfer of “2nd economy” market. The money should be used to pay for new technology, training, and support. A third program for South African black women is the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme. It focuses on developing skills in technology and human resources among female students and SMEs owned by females.
Tips To Applying For Grants
The best way to apply for grants is to follow the following basic principles:
- Be honest. Avoid hiding information that you think may prevent the approval of your grant. Instead, be open about the problems you are facing but offer your solutions on how the grant can help you overcome these obstacles
- Get all the documents and forms filled up correctly and completely
- File your application on time or as early as possible. There are many others who are also applying for grants
- Attend DTI conventions and sponsored trade missions
After your grant has been approved, it is critical that you follow the requirements of the grant like documenting your expenses properly. It will auger well for your reputation as a business person if you can maintain a good credit record with DTI as a precursor for your success in your chosen industry.