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Application guidelines for coronavirus assistance to South African SMEs

COVID relief

Business owners are bombarded with information from all sides, so we have summarised the different support options for you along with the supporting documentation requirements, for each.

Business Growth and Resilience Facility

In this briefing, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the Minister of Small Business Development, discussed government’s support for SMEs during the 21-day lockdown. (Ntshavheni’s address starts at the 1:44’ mark.)

The Business Growth and Resilience Facility seeks to help to manufacture SMEs, with a focus on that those can provide high-demand products during the outbreak.

“(We want to give) Give local manufacturers and suppliers an opportunity to produce the medical and hygiene supplies to respond to the crisis,” said Ntshavheni.

Companies in the agri-processing sector will also be supported, added Ntshavheni.

The fund will provide working capital, bridging finance, equipment finance, and order finance, reports CNBC Africa.

Here are the criteria:

  • 100% SA owned
  • Employ at least 70% of South African, staff
  • SARS complaint

If SMEs are not registered and tax compliant, the department will help business owners with that process.

Priority will be given to women, youth, and people with disabilities.

SMME Relief Scheme

If you’re struggling to keep up with your financial obligations, consider the SMME Relief Scheme.

This fund will provide loans so SMEs can buy raw materials, pay salaries, and cover operational costs.

Like the Business Growth and Resilience Facility, qualifying SMEs must be 100% South African owned; 70% of the staff must be South African.

You can apply for both the SMME Relief Scheme and the Business Growth and Resilience Facility at https://smmesa.gov.za/

Support for tourism businesses

Tourism businesses have taken a knock during the COVID-19 outbreak. Even before the shutdown, PwC predicted a R200m reduction in tourism spend.

To support these companies, the Department of Tourism has allocated R200 million to “cushion our society from economic difficulties”, according to this statement.

The qualifying criteria include:

  • Turnover must not exceed R2.5m
  • Must be trading for at least one year
  • Should be able to show a link between COVID-19 and business distress

Financial support for employees

For companies battling to pay salaries during the lockdown period, staff will be eligible for government support.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has set up the Covid-19 Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (COVID-19 TERS).

“Caring and responsible employers that are unable to pay the full salaries of the workers they send home for their health and safety due to the lockdown are encouraged to apply for the Covid-19 TERS  Benefit from the UIF,” reads a joint statement from the UIF and the Department of Labour.

Send an email to covid19ters@labour.gov.za to apply.

Here is a document on COVID-19 TERS from the Department of Labour, which explains:

  • Background of the scheme
  • Submission process
  • Supporting documents required

Here is a breakdown of the supporting documents you need to apply for government funding.

Funds Supporting documents Key contacts
Debt relief finance scheme
  • Company statutory Documents;
  • FICA documents (e.g. municipal accounts)
  • Certified ID copies of Directors;
  • 3 months bank statements;
  • Latest annual financial statements / Latest management accounts;
  • Business profile;
  • 6 months cash flow projections (where applicable);
  • Copy of lease agreement or proof of ownership if applying for rental relief
  • Employee details (bank details and UIF) for help paying salaries
Business Growth and Resilience Facility
  • CIPC registration documents;
  • FICA documents (e.g. municipal accounts);
  • ID Copies of directors/ members;
  • 3 months bank statements;
  • Latest annual financial statements /management accounts;
  • Business profile;
  • 6 months cash flow projections (where applicable);
  • Industry certification (where applicable);
  • Estimations for funding requested
  • Letter of authority: letter on a company letterhead giving individual permission to lodge a claim
  • Agreement between the employer, bargaining council, and UIF
  • Template from the UIF with relevant information from the employer
  • Last three months’ payroll
  • Certified latest bank statements
012 337 1997 /covid19ters@labour.gov.za
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