Small businesses are an integral part of the South African economy. There are many small formal and informal businesses which are the bread and butter of many citizens. The DSMD is a government department set up specifically to support small business development in the hopes of providing needed access to resources and knowledge. There are a number of useful resources and opportunities made available to small business owners and entrepreneurs by the Department. We have highlighted some useful pieces of information below:
1. Funding, grants and business relief:
The Department has ongoing business relief programs providing debt relief under the abnormal conditions of covid-19, the recent riots or other such events; funding opportunities for different sectors, and grants which are regularly posted. The best way to keep up to date with this is to follow the Twitter account of the Department at @DSBD_SA . The website can be found at www.mybindu.org.za .
Basic requirements for many of these programs include but are not limited to: The business must have been registered with CIPC; Company must be 100 percent owned by South African Citizens (this is flexible depending on program); Employees must be 70 percent South Africans; Priority given to businesses owned by Woman, Youth and People with Disabilities; Be registered and compliant with SARS and UIF.
On the home page you will find details about the ‘’Blended Finance Program’’, ‘’Shared Economic Infrastructure Facility’’, and ‘’Informal and Micro Enterprises Development Program’’. While these may sound like complicated words or concepts to understand, the process and operations are all explained in detail on the website.
2. Small Business Economic Development Portal:
Once you register here https://www.smmesa.gov.za/ , you are able to access and process applications for the programs mentioned above. You will also have access to the available funding programs easily and receive updates easily.
3. The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)
Seda is an agency of the Department of Small Business Development established in 2004. Seda is “mandated to implement the government’s small business strategy; design and implement a standard and common national delivery network for small enterprise development; and integrate government-funded small enterprise support agencies across all tiers of government. Seda’s mission is to develop, support and promote small enterprises throughout the country, ensuring their growth and sustainability in coordination and partnership with various role players, including global partners, who make international best practices available to local entrepreneurs.’’
Seda has a vast number of resources and programmes available. The Seda website has document resources ranging from business plans, contact lists, return on investment calculators, and many comprehensive guides on different topics for the first time business owner. They have four main training programs including an incubation program (guidance and development for small businesses to succeed with the aid of professionals) and sector specific training programs which may be applicable to different businesses, such a tech, rural, spaza shops, etc. Seda can be considered as the agency which activates the work of the Department.
4. Webinars and networking
The Department has started hosting a number of webinars on different topics with industry experts – this information can be found on their social media pages. These are great opportunities to touch base with experts in the field, make yourself known and to build connections. Registration and attendance is open to anyone.
It is a good idea to keep informed and up to date with information released by the Department as a small business owner. Never miss an opportunity that could take your business to the next level!