Nov 2009



The South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund (Samaf) gives financial services to small-scale entrepreneurs living in rural and outer urban areas. Samaf does not lend money directly to the public. It uses existing institutions within communities to handle the funds and lend to qualifying entrepreneurs. Samaf has three products: the Micro-Credit Fund (gives loans to entrepreneurs), the Capacity Building Fund (gives funds to be used for equipping the institutions with skills, systems and equipment) and the Savings Mobilisation Fund (encourages savings).

Contact Samaf: 012 394-1805


Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods is a programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It aims to create jobs for communities by helping to establish small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). In particular, it makes use of technologies which can add value to SMMEs and make them accessible to communities. At the same time, the programme helps to make these SMMEs successful by offering skills development and training. The DST offers technological assistance in the following areas:

Aquaculture: Communities are trained to farm indigenous fish as a business. They get technology in terms of infrastructure (production cages) and training to manage a fish farm, including diseases and harvesting.

Essential oils: These are valuable oils that are extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants. Communities benefit from skills development and training, and their businesses are linked to the local essential oils market.

Indigenous medicinal plants: Communities are taught to grow indigenous herbs commercially. These plants have special medicinal properties which have been scientifically proven. Communities receive training in farming methods and in how to start a commercial enterprise. Their businesses are also linked to local markets.

The DST does not support individual people, only communities and community groups. These communities are then helped to form a viable community business in the form of a Section 21 Company or co-operative.

To use these technologies and produce valuable crops in essential oils and indigenous medicinal plants, communities need to have access to suitable agricultural land. Similarly, communities that want to benefit from fish farming must have access to irrigation dams.

Contact the DST Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods:
012 843-6421/18


When you start a business, it needs to be registered. To do so, fill in the relevant forms and submit them to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO).

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