Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) run by women have continued to emerge in South Africa.Through these business ventures, women are able to produce and sell innovative products, support their families and communities they live in. While funding has been a major impediment, a number of funding platforms designed for women entrepreneurs have come to the fore to provide much needed financial assistance. Here are some of them.
This fund is a non-profit funding entity which was established in 2007. Masisizane Fund focuses on black women, youths, and people with disabilities. This fund seeks to improve the livelihood of people and communities by bringing self-sufficiency to those who struggle to access finance. Since inception, the Masisizane Fund has approved over R522 million in funding and assisted over 300 enterprises, with 60% of them located in rural areas. This fund is credited with assisting entrepreneurs who are typically seen as high risk and struggle to secure finance through traditional channels.
Siza Capital SA has been established to support low income and previously marginalized people in particular youth and women to generate sustainable income that will not only improve their families’ livelihood but improve our communities and in the long-run improve the economy. This is achieved through the provision of Ukuqalisa start up loan and Ubuntu business expansion loans. Ukuqalisa is an entry level and business start –up loan product delivered in-kind meaning that recipients receive the loans in the form of business stock, goods, equipment etc. Ubuntu is a product that provides funding support to existing entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and transform them into growth oriented SMEs. The product targets entrepreneurs who have viable, market-driven and growth-oriented business concepts.
The objective of this grant is to empower South African women in the arts and crafts sector. Targeted industries under this fund include clothing and textiles, skills in embroidery, weaving, netting, sewing and beading. This fund therefore contributes towards quality production of commercially viable products by women.
The funding avenues listed above are truly making a difference for women.