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Government Funding

Matching your Pitch to the Funder

While banks may not be willing to take on the risk of funding a start-up, there are government organisations that are willing to give financial backing to entrepreneurs with potential.

Chana Boucher

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Odilon

This is what property entrepreneur and co-founder of Tenitor Properties, Odilon Nkhasi, discovered as he embarked on his first project in property development. He and his two business partners, one of whom had a corporate banking background, were exploring the idea of getting into the property market and were looking for a starting point. Nkhasi explains that he read about urban renewal in the inner city of Johannesburg and started identifying property in the area that would be suitable for building low income housing.

“Once we identified the property, we thought ‘we need finance now’. Where do we go? Who’s involved in the market?” They found out about the Gauteng Partnership Fund (GPF) and looked at the organisation’s website to see the type of projects it funded and then visited the offices to get some direction on what to do in order to access finance. For any prospective start-up looking for funding, it’s always important to understand the funder that you are approaching. If you don’t know their mandate, you can’t pitch effectively to them.

Presenting the business case

The GPF asked the entrepreneurs to put together a comprehensive business plan which clearly laid out the partners’ expertise, realistic costs for the refurbishment and rentals that could be charged for the building. The plan then had to be presented to the GPF. Nkhasi and his partners met with a GPF loan officer who explained that the organisation operated in the affordable housing sphere and that their business case had to be aligned to that. He also gave them a breakdown of all the basics that needed to be covered.

Nothing built in a day

During the process, the GPF did background checks on the company itself and the business case to make sure the project was viable. The process demanded patience from the entrepreneurs, which is another vital point to remember: you don’t secure funding overnight. If that’s your plan, you already have a problem. According to Nkhasi, the business case was first presented to the GPF in October 2009 and approval was only provided in July 2010.

“We went through about two or three revision and additional information sessions until we got it right. You need a lot of patience while the process is happening. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s a process that takes as long as it takes. You have to hang in there.”

Investing in the business

Between the three partners, they were able to raise R800 000 of their own funds to invest in the project. Investing your own money, says Nkhasi, demonstrates that you really want to make the project work. He explains that the entrepreneurs contributed 2%, and the GPF 28%. The remaining 70% was secured through commercial property financier, TUHF.

Believing in the viability of Tenitor Properties’ first project, the GPF approached TUHF with their business case for additional funding. All money loaned has to be paid back over 20 years, but the payments only start after 12 months of securing the loan to give Tenitor Properties time to complete the renovations and start earning money with the project.

According to Nkhasi, what helped his company access the loans was that their team has the necessary skills to start up and carry a business, as well as the passion and commitment to see it through. “It’s also important to understand the market and what you are getting yourself into. You need to know how it operates, how to do renovations,” he says. Another thing he believes helped was that they all put away some money that could be used as equity. “It helps to put money away, so you should always start with that.”

The investor’s perspective

Boni Muvevi, chief investment officer at the GPF, says the GPF was comfortable with the ability of the three entrepreneurs. “Looking at their backgrounds, we felt they have the financial understanding to see the project through. The project was interesting enough and aligned to our mandate,” he explains.

Muvevi says the GPF does not just look at CVs, they look for entrepreneurial flair, the ability to see a project through to the end and projects that will make financial sense. “Of course there will be gaps as they are just starting out, but it is important that they understood those gaps, and that we could work together to fill them.”

The fact that they were a team of three, all bringing different skills, was a strength Muvevi identified. “Three partners makes it easier for them to grow. They will also encourage each other to remain motivated and see the project to the end.” Another advantage was that between them they had knowledge of the industry and financial understanding. “This is partly why they raised their head above everyone else. Many people don’t know where to start, but these guys had some insight,” he adds.

When looking at the business case, the GPF identifies a number of areas, including whether or not the entrepreneurs understand the market; who their target market is; whether or not it is in line with the GPF’s mandate; whether or not a market analysis has been done; and finally, the backgrounds of the entrepreneurs and the accuracy of their financial projections. Muvevi adds that it is key for the entrepreneurs to invest their own money into the project to show their commitment.

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Chana Boucher is a Freelance writer.

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Government Funding

Expansion Funding Options For Your Growing Business

Growth can put an enormous strain on the cash flow of your business. Luckily, there are financing options available to you if you know where to look, enabling you to keep that growth on track.

Darlene Menzies

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One of the first things you notice when your business starts to grow is that your costs shoot up, while your profit doesn’t immediately follow. Growth can put an enormous strain on the cash flow of a company and business owners often make the mistake of financing growth from their cash flow — which is like using your credit card to finance your home renovations.

Doing things this way results in unnecessarily high financing rates and challenging repayment terms, which can also leave you vulnerable to a sudden cash flow crisis without the time required to line up financing.

Financing business expansion requires planning, especially for fast growing companies.

When planning for fund raising, consider applying for sufficient funds to cover the cost of existing debt and the cost of the expansion. When it comes to business expansion funding, the total amount of the finance required will determine which finance options are most suitable.

If your finance requirements are relatively low and your cash flow history is good, consider a term loan or business overdraft to fund your growth while you work on increasing your sales to meet your growth expenses. If your expansion needs include additional equipment or machinery, asset finance is available.

Related: 3 Ways For Social Entrepreneurs To Access Fundraising

However, if your SME is growing rapidly and you want to enter new markets, scale your team or undertake new product development, look at longer term funding solutions. Equity finance is the most common option for this kind of funding requirement and there are also government funds that cater for business expansion.

Government Funding Options

Government lending agencies provide a range of finance options for SMEs to foster growth in high priority sectors, specific geographic areas and to promote economic inclusion for previously disadvantaged people. The finance options include incentivised financing, cost sharing options, equity, loans and grants.

Government has partnered with Finfind, which has an up-to-date database of all the government funding offerings available to SMEs.

If your business profile or funding need matches any of the government funds, Finfind will match you with the offering and provide you with the details of what is required to apply.

Equity Finance

Equity finance refers to the sale of a percentage of ownership in your company in return for business expansion funds. One of the biggest benefits is that these lenders are often prepared to fund businesses that are not currently profitable, but have the potential to generate large returns. As equity funders take more risk than traditional financiers, they expect a higher rate of return on their investment from businesses that can scale into large markets and show highly profitable future returns.

In the SME market, early-stage equity finance is usually provided by venture capital companies (VC), while mid-stage or larger expansion funding requirements for medium size enterprises are provided by private equity funds or bank loans. VCs look for businesses with a strong founder, that have proven product market fit, a team to execute the business plan and a robust business model showing strong future returns. Funding amounts usually vary from R1 million to R20 million.

Related: What Type Of Growth Funding Do You Really Need?

What Funders Want

business-funding

Funding applications require preparation, including a detailed business model that outlines expansion plans and makes a compelling case for investment.

CVs of key staff will be important as well as an organogram that shows the impact of the expansion on your team, detailed projected income and expenses, historical, audited financial statements, bank statements for the business’s bank account/s, tax clearance certificate, and personal statements of assets and liabilities for all owners as well as company and tax registration documentation. Keep an electronic folder with this documentation and update it monthly so that you can access it whenever it is needed.

If the initial funding meetings go well, the potential funder will perform a due diligence where the financials, the business model and its assumptions and projections will be scrutinised. They may interview some customers and your key staff members. Funders are especially interested in the founder and team running the business, as they are responsible for ensuring that the projected growth is realised. They look for experience, deep knowledge of the industry and operational competence.

Resource

Finfind is SA’s leading access to finance solutions for SMEs. This revolutionary online platform links finance seekers with matching lenders, providing easy access to over 200 lenders and over 350 loan options. Finfind is supported by USAID and sponsored by the Department of Small Business Development.

Go to www.finfindeasy.co.za to find the business finance you need. It’s free and easy to use.

Related: The Ups And Downs Of Borrowing From The Bank


Get Funded

  • Do your homework: Each equity fund has a clear investment strategy. Familiarise yourself before engaging.
  • Educate yourself: Get to know the equity finance terminology and what to expect during the various stages of the deal process.
  • Develop an exit strategy: This is a common question and an important issue for funders.
  • Consider alternative funding: Can your expansion be funded with alternative or cheaper sources of finance that do not require giving up shares? Keep in mind, though, that the right investors bring more than money. They provide expertise and access to networks that can expedite your expansion plans.

Lastly, while you don’t always get the luxury of choice, do your best to partner with people you will enjoy working with, it can be a long marriage.

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Government Funding

Government Funding & Grants Advice

Government grants and loan programmes have been set up by the government to extend funding to previously disadvantaged South African to foster black economic development.

Entrepreneur

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There is a good deal of Government sponsored non-repayable Grants and Assistance Programs for manufacturing and tourist related businesses as well as innovative R&D product development projects available in South Africa.

A grant is an award of financial assistance in the form of money. The government is one of the best sources for grants. Grants have strict guidelines for applying and using the funds.

Related: Matching Your Pitch to the Funder

Grant funding agencies use grants as a way to accomplish a specific goal that the organisation wants to achieve. If your start-up fits into the right criteria, you may be able to apply for funding through a grant.

The difference between a loan and a grant is that grants do not have to be repaid, but they do require a considerable amount of paperwork. The grantee is required to account for spending the money in the manner specified by the grantor.

Grants funds fit broadly into two different categories – money that is sponsored by the government and money that is sponsored by corporate financial organisations.

Most of these funds have their own specific requirements, and only those businesses that fill specified requirements, get to access to these funds. Funding agencies often look for worthwhile projects such as those that might create jobs in rural areas or those that provide training to specialised groups.

Related: DTI funding guide

Small businesses can contact banks and other financial institutions for small business bank loans. A business loan must be paid back and strict criteria must be met to qualify. There are a number of private funders that may be able to help.

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Government Funding

Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

Your much needed capital investment could come from government funding and grants. Here is a comprehensive guide to government funding available in South Africa.

Nicole Crampton

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Many new small businesses go through the struggle of finding capital to start-up of expand their businesses. Government funding and grants can be a worthwhile way to get the funds that you need.

There are a lot of important things you need to be aware of such as: Strict criteria, a lot of paperwork and maybe even a very long wait. It is worth it in the end so have a look and see which government funding and grants you qualify for.

What are government grants?

This is when a project or initiative is awarded government funding for some or all of its financial support. The business grants do not need to be repaid or accrue interest and have strict guidelines for application. Government funding is linked with efforts such as black economic empowerment, job creation and developing the economy.

Here is a list of some of the government grants available for business funding in South Africa:

Contents:

  1. Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS)
  2. Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)
  3. Clothing and Textile Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CTCIP)
  4. Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP)
  5. Film Incentive Programme
  6. Business Process Services (BPS)
  7. Capital Projects Feasibility Programme (CPFP)
  8. Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII)
  9. National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)
  10. National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)DTI-Logo

DTI business grants are responsible for actively encouraging small businesses. The DTI is actively searching for new business owners, specifically those who will positively affect South Africa’s economy with an emphasis on valuable job creation.

The DTI business grants provide financial support to various economic activities, including manufacturing, business competitiveness, export development, market access and provide a channel for foreign direct investment. The following are some of this department’s latest programmes:


 

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Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS)

automotive-vehicleThis business grant is designed to grow the automotive sector. By investing in new and replacement models and components which will:

  • Increase production volumes
  • Sustain and increase employment
  • Strengthen the automotive value chain

Qualifying for the grant

These types of grants are aimed at:

  • Light motor vehicle manufacturers
    • That either have accomplished or will accomplish, a minimum of 50 000 annual units of production per plant, within a period of three years
  • Component or deemed component manufacturers
    • Which fall under the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) supply chain
  • Light motor vehicle manufacturer supply chains who will reach at least 25% of total entity turnover or R10 million by the end of the first full year of commercial production whether they are situated locally or internationally.

Contact information:

  • Working Hours: Monday – Friday 08h00 until 17h00
  • National callers: 0861 843 384
  • Enquiries can be sent to the following e-mail address: contactus@thedti.gov.za
  • Find more information here.

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Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)

african-business-manThe DTI offers non-repayable grants of up to R1 million to ensure your business can boost its competitive edge and its sustainability. The aims of these business grants are to expand existing businesses as well as employ additional people.

Be aware: These business grants do not assist start-ups

The R1 million grants are divided into R800 000 specifically for tools, machinery and equipment. The outstanding R200 000 is then used specifically for business development and training. In order to improve:

  • Business corporate governance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Productivity
  • Use of modern technology

6 Points you need to qualify for these grants:

  1. CIPC registered company or cc
  2. 50.1% or more black owned (Black, Indian or Coloured)
  3. Management team is 50% Black
  4. Must have been trading for at least one year and have financial statements to prove turnover
  5. Turnover must be between R250 000 and R35 million per annum
  6. Must have valid SARS tax clearance and IRT14 SARS document.

Document checklist for these grants:

  • CIPC Company registration documents (proof of ownership and shareholding)
  • Certified ID of all Directors/ members
  • Certified ID of all managers/ staff to be trained (if applicable)
  • Certified financial statements for latest financial year (three years if available)
  • Management accounts for current year
  • Valid SARS tax clearance (with 3 months to expiry or get a new one)
  • VAT registration document (where applicable)
  • IRT 14 document from SARS. (matching turnover as per latest financials)
  • 3 Months bank statements
  • 3 Quotations (comparable) for every intervention
  • Declaration appointing Graphit as the consultant.
  • Company diagnostic questionnaire and application typed on template supplied by Graphit. Please send back as a Word Document
  • Domicilium form
  • Bank confirmation of your 50% contribution (Will you be able to get finance for your 50% or 20% contribution.) (Clear credit record)

Contact information 

Funding-for-Black-Entrepreneurs-Free-EBook


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Clothing and Textile Competitiveness Improvement Programme (CTCIP)

textile-manufacturingThis type of government funding is targeted at the clothing and textile industry. They offer a R200 million grant fund launched this year. The aims of these types of grants are:

  • Stabilise employment
  • Improve overall competitiveness within the clothing, textile, footwear, leather and leather goods manufacturing industries.

To qualify for these types of grants your operational business just need to join a regional cluster recognised by the programme.

Find more information here.


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Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP)

infrastructure-buildingThese grants are cost sharing grants for projects designed specifically to improve critical infrastructure. These types of grants offer a cash to a maximum of 30% capped at R30 million of the development cost of qualifying infrastructure. The aims of these government funding and grants are to:

  • Lowering business costs and risks which will support competitiveness
  • Provide targeted financial support for physical infrastructure
  • Stimulate upstream and downstream linkages.

Qualifying for the grant

Public sector entities qualify for this particular grant. These include:

  • Municipalities
  • Private investors
  • Companies

Contact Information


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Film Incentive Programme

filming-industryGovernment funding and grants offer various incentives to promote the film production and post-production industry.

The incentives consist of the:

Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production

  • To attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa
  • Conduct post-production activities in South Africa

South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production

  • The assistance of local film producers in the production of local content.

The South African Emerging Black Filmmakers

  • To assist local emerging black filmmakers in order for them to grow enough to take on big productions then they can contribute towards employment creation.

Contact Information:

Find more information here.


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Business Process Services (BPS)

young-entrepreneurGovernment funding and grants such as this one was created to attract investments and create employment opportunities through offshore activities. Its secondary objective is to create youth employment opportunities and contributing to the export revenue of the country through offshoring services.

Qualify for these business grants by having:

  • Must be performing BPS activities
  • May be involved in starting a new operation or expanding an existing operation in order to perform BPS activities.
  • By the end of three years from the start of the new project or expansion, must have created at least 50 new offshore jobs
  • Must commence its commercial operations no later than six months from the date on which the BPS incentive grants were approved
  • If in a joint venture arrangement, must have at least one of the parties registered in South Africa as a legal entity
  • The project must employ at least 80% youth
  • Have secured a contract for offshore BPS activities
  • Comply with the B-BBEE requirements
  • Submit an application for the BPS incentive prior to the engagement of qualifying jobs
  • The project must be financially viable
  • Comply with all statutory regulations
  • Be a going concern.

Contact Information:


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Capital Projects Feasibility Programme (CPFP)

exportation-cratesGovernment funding and grants like this one was created as cost-sharing business grants. The objective is that it will contribute to the cost of feasibility studies which will become projects that will boost local exports and stimulate the market for South African capital goods and services.

Business grants that are R8 million cover a maximum of:

  • 50% of the cost of the feasibility study for projects outside Africa
  • 55% of the cost of the feasibility study for projects within Africa

Requirements:

Must be a South African registered legal entity or partners with a South African registered entity.

Studies which have non-financial criteria:

  • New projects, expansion of existing projects and the rehabilitation of existing projects.
  • The programme that is anticipated to emerge from the feasibility study must fulfil the objectives of the programme.
  • The minimum local content should be 50% for goods and 70% for professional services
  • Projects can be situated anywhere in the world ( excluding South Africa)
  • The project must have a satisfactory chance of being declared a success.

Evaluation criteria which are motivational factors, the project must have:

  • A positive impact on developmental aspects like job creation, skills development, linkages with small, medium and micro enterprises etc.
  • A minimum of 10% of the total professional services involved during the feasibility study should be sub-contracted to South African black-owned professionals/entities
  • A clear detailed time period from which the project stemming from the feasibility study will be realised
  • Funding from private and public sector organisations to realise the project.

Contact Information:


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Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII)

manufacturing-sectorThese are business grants which supports the development of new technology in the South African industry. The government funding and grants focuses on the development of new technology in order to reinforce South Africa’s international competitive edge.

Requirements for SPII Support:

  • Development should represent significant advance in technology
  • Development and subsequent production must take place within South Africa
  • Intellectual Property to reside in a South African registered company
  • Participating businesses must be a South African registered enterprises
  • No simultaneous applications from the same company.

Various schemes offered by SPII:

  • The product process development scheme:
    • Provides financial assistance with non-repayable grants to small, very small, micro-enterprises and individuals.
  • The matching scheme:
    • Provides financial assistance with non-repayable grants to all enterprises and individuals.
  • The partnership scheme
    • Provides financial assistance with conditionally repayable grants to all enterprises and individuals
    • The repayment is a levy based on the percentage of sales over a fixed number of years.
    • The levy percentage and repayment period are established

Contact Information

The dti Customer contact centre

  • National callers: 0861 843 384
  • International callers: +27 (12) 394 9500
  • Find more information here.

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National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)

NYDA-logoThese grants programmes are provided to young entrepreneurs as an opportunity to access financial and non-financial business development support. This programme is directed at youth entrepreneurs who are showing potential but are not fully developed yet.

Related: Does the South African government award grants to franchisees?

Young people who would like to access the grants programmes will have to commit to participating in the NYDA mentorship and voucher programme for a minimum of 2 years. The youth business funding ranges from R1000 to R100 000.

Requirements:

  • The applicant must have attained the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of application
  • Require business, start-up or growth funding
  • Are youth (18-35 years) with necessary skills, experience or; with the potential skill appropriate for the enterprise that they conduct or intend to conduct
  • Are South African citizens and are resident within the borders of South Africa
  • Are involved in the day-to-day operation and management of the business
  • Require grants from NYDA of not less than R1, 000.00 and not more than R100, 000.00
  • Require grants from NYDA of not less than R1,000 and not more than R1, 00, 000 within the following thresholds:
    • Threshold 1 – Survivalist business – R1 000 – R10 000
    • Threshold 2 – Start Up – R10 001 – R50 000
    • Threshold 3 – Growth – R50 001 – R100 000.
  • Operate either informally or formally; generally recognised as micro enterprises (e.g. street traders, vendors, emerging enterprises)
  • Have a profit motive and are commercially viable and sustainable
  • Members of entities should comprise 100% South African youth citizen
  • Business are operating within the borders of South Africa
  • Individual entity must have bank account and or a young person must be assisted to open an account
  • For cooperatives they must have or be willing to form a group of minimum 5 persons.

Be aware: If you receive approval of your grants and you are a full time employee, you might be required to resign and provide your grant officer with your proof of resignation

Find more information here.


 

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National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

National-Empowerment-FundGovernment funding and grants like the National Empowerment Fund are targeted at black economic empowerment transactions. Through the provision of financial and non-financial support as well as creating a culture of saving and investing. The NEF is divided into four different types of government funding:

  1. iMbewu fund
    • Designed to as start-up business funding for black entrepreneurs as well as supporting existing black-owned enterprises with expansion capital.
    • The fund offers: debt, quasi-equity and equity finance products with a range from R250 000 to R10 million.
  2. Rural and community development fund
  • Designed to promote sustainable changes in the rural economy. Specifically in social and economic relations as well as supporting the goals of growth and development through financing of sustainable enterprises. This fund has three products:
    1. Acquisition finance
    2. Expansion Capital
  • Project finance
  • These have a range of funding between R1 million and R50 million
  1. uMnotho fund
    • Designed to improve access to BEE capital and offers five products:
      1. Acquisition finance
      2. Project finance
  • Expansion finance
  1. Capital markets fund
  2. Liquidity and warehousing
  • These products give capital to black-owned and managed enterprises and black entrepreneurs who:
    1. Buy equity shares in established black and white owned enterprises
    2. Starting new ventures
  • Expanding existing businesses
  1. BEE businesses that are or want to be listed on the JSE
  1. Strategic Projects fund
    • This is the centre of the NEF’s investment strategy when it comes to acquiring the involvement of black people in early stage projects. Its main function is to provide venture capital finance aimed at developing new and deliberate industrial capacity within planned sectors acknowledged as key drivers of economic growth.

Contact Information

  • Call: 0861 843 633
  • Find more information here.

The application process for government funding and grants takes time and the paper work can be tiresome. But here has never been more substantial government funding available than right now. The government funding has more than doubled from R242.6 million in government grants in 2011/2012 to R646.5 million in 2012/2013.

An additional R437 million was given out in grants to over 31 000 small and micro enterprises by the National Empowerment Fund, the National Youth Development Agency and others. A lot of success can be accomplished with the help of government funding and grants.

Related: Attention Black Entrepreneurs: Start-Up Funding From Government Grants & Funds

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