SA Government Funding Initiatives for SMEs

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SMEs are the backbone of South Africa’s economy, which is why various government funding initiatives exist to help support the development of small businesses. Whether you’re trying to start a new business or want to develop your existing business, government funding initiatives exist to help make it happen. Tapping into these initiatives can provide valuable business growth and guidance.

In this quick, we’ll break down some of the main SA government funding initiatives for SMEs. This includes funding and development options for a wide range of businesses. 

6 SA Government Funding Initiatives for SMEs

The millions of SMEs in South Africa form a crucial part of the country’s economy. To help these businesses grow and develop, here are some SA government funding initiatives for SMEs.


The Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) is a government initiative to support small business development. Each district municipality in the country has a SEDA branch, where entrepreneurs can go for guidance. 

SEDA helps aspiring entrepreneurs put together a valid business plan to start their venture. The initiative also helps existing business owners make their businesses stronger and more profitable. 

2. Co-Operatives Incentive Scheme

The Co-operative Incentive Scheme provides cash grants to co-operatives across all industries to help them grow. To do this, you will need to register your co-operative and meet all of the necessary requirements – like being mainly black-owned and actively helping to create employment.

3. Black Business Supplier Development Programme

This SA government funding initiative provides grants in a cost-sharing scheme to black-owned businesses. The grants are aimed at developing business skills training. 

Companies that are majority black-owned, or companies with a major representation of black managers, can qualify for the grant to help them improve their core skills and processes. 


South African Micro Finance Apex Fund (SAMAF) offers financial services to rural South African entrepreneurs. The fund helps rural small businesses with loans, equipping businesses with skills, as well as encouraging savings within these businesses. 

5. Umsobomvu

The Umsobomvu Youth Fund is aimed towards young entrepreneurs. This fund helps the youth to establish and grow their businesses through various programs. This includes entrepreneurship education training, business consulting services, and more. 

6. Department of Small Business Development

The Department of Small Business Development works with the National Treasury to help assist SMEs in the country’s informal sector. This includes working in partnership with the SA SME fund, which includes billions of Rands from the government and the private sector. 

These are some of the main SA government funding initiatives for SMEs that exist. However, there are various other funding options in place – including SME development initiatives from private companies, such as MTN.

Whether you’re starting a new business or want to expand your existing business, understanding the different SME development options is important. It’s also good to know that funding is only one part of these initiatives. In most cases, funding is provided alongside education and skills development to help SMEs reach their full potential.

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