Economic and business statistics in South Africa show that 34% of South African small and medium businesses are led by women. Research also shows that women continue to face barriers such as a lack of capital in order to succeed in business. In order to deal with this, a number of funding programmes have been established in order to support women entrepreneurs. Here are some of them.
Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF)
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund was established by the Industrial Development Corporation. This fund uniquely combines crowdfunding and capacity building. In order to qualify, a business must have at least 50% female shareholding interest, a solid, fundable business plan to start or expand within an identified market and the business plan needs to include financial plans detailing: capital expenditure, working capital requirements, resourcing and operational involvement.
Business Partners Women in Business Fund
The Business Partners Limited Women in Business Fund is aimed at assisting women entrepreneurs start their entrepreneurial journey on a strong note by increasing their access to finance. In order to qualify, you need to be an entrepreneur, who wishes to start, expand or buy an existing business. The business entity must have 50% of women as shareholders with the applicant woman being in an operations and management role in the business.
Identity Development Fund
The Identity Development Fund is a leading organization that provides innovative financial and non-financial support services to black-owned, women-owned and youth-owned businesses. IDF is focused on unlocking value in the entrepreneurial sector through fund management services for institutional and corporate investors. Currently, IDF Managers is in the process of raising IDF Fund II with a targeted fund size of R500million.
Isivande Women’s Fund
Isivande Women’s Fund is an exclusive fund aimed at accelerating women’s economic empowerment. This fund offers customised loans from a minimum of R30,000 to a maximum of R2 million. To be eligible, your business must be operational for six months; your business must offer social impact with employment creation and must have early stage capital for expansions and growth.
Absa Women Empowerment Fund
Absa Women Empowerment Fund has been tailored for female entrepreneurs. This fund offers loan amounts between R50 000 and R5 million with a maximum loan term of four years and monthly reducible overdrafts. 70% of the loan is paid to suppliers and the interest rate is linked to the prime lending rate and will be structured according to the lending risk.
The funding avenues highlighted above should assist female entrepreneurs across South Africa.