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Support for village and township businesses

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

Government steps in to help small businesses in townships and villages recover from the impact the impact of the coronavirus.

 As the economy reopens following the strict coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the Department of Small Business Development will financially support informal, micro and small enterprises operating in the textile, bakery and automotive sectors.

The department has launched the small-scale bakeries and confectioneries; informal and small-scale clothing and textile; and automotive aftermarkets support schemes as part of its Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme.

“With the reopening of the economy, township and village economies require special focus if government is to achieve the aspirations of the new economy post-COVID-19,” says Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. 

The informal and small-scale clothing and textile support scheme will help seamstresses, sewers, dressmakers and tailors, patternmakers, designers, pattern calculators, pattern cutters, art designers, knitters, machinists, tanners, fabric manufacturers, shoe makers and handbag makers.

The small-scale bakeries and confectioneries support scheme will support micro or informal businesses in the sector, by helping them buy equipment and providing them with working capital; while the automotive aftermarkets support scheme will fund panel beaters who operate accredited small and independent motor body repair businesses; qualified motor mechanics who run authorised service centres; small or independent auto-spares shops that sell aftermarket car spare parts; and informal and formal micro fitment centres.

Minister Ntshavheni says: “The scheme covers the cost of production inputs; access to credit; assistance with compliance and technical skills improvement, such as labelling, industry standards and quality; and business and financial management training, including productivity management.”

Businesses applying to the automotive aftermarkets support scheme will participate in a Small Enterprise Development Agency-facilitated trade test certification and receive assistance to enrol with the insurance industry and car service centres, among other benefits.

For a business to qualify for funding from any of these schemes, it must be based in a village or township. In addition, it must:

  • be registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission,
  • be 100 percent owned by South Africans,
  • be registered or apply for registration with the South African Revenue Service and the Unemployment Insurance Fund,
  • have a valid business bank account or be willing to open one, and
  • ensure its workers are 70 percent South Africans. In the case of non-South African employees, they must have valid work permits as determined by the Department of Home Affairs. 

Application forms and further information is available online at www.smmesa.gov.za.