To help fund and support the country’s entrepreneurs, there are a number of government incentive schemes, loans and grants that entrepreneurs can qualify for.
The latest is the Black Industrialist (BI) Scheme, the government’s plan to launch 100 black industrialist-owned businesses and create massive local employment. R3.6 billion has been allocated to the scheme.
For entrepreneurs, getting a piece of this kind of pie, is however not without its difficulties, including strict criteria, heavy paperwork and long processing times.
This is where Uzenzele Holdings (UH) comes in. The niche consulting firm specialises in helping entrepreneurs, including black industrialists, access development funding in the form of government grants, incentives or loans from institutions like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), National Empowerment Fund (NEF), and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA).
For each business they work with, they identify the funds applicable to their company and their growth plans. They also help with developing business plans and financial models as well as advising their clients throughout the application, approval and claims process.
“This saves our clients time and money and impacts their bottom line all the while allowing them to keep on running their business while we focus on their fundraising,” says founder and financial strategist, Nadia Rawjee who launched the company together with sister, Zahra Rawjee, director of operations and business development, in 2010.
Here’s everything you need to know about how UH is helping businesses meet their funding needs.
Why They Exist?
One of the key problems with accessing finance, Rawjee says, is a lack of knowledge and time.
“Entrepreneurs owning and managing businesses are good at what they do. While they are masters of their craft, they often have limited knowledge of how or where to access finance from.
“We’re able to identify the options available, determine which will be most beneficial to a specific business and identify when and how to access them”
“If this knowledge and skill set does reside within the business, capacity constraints exist as these initiatives require a substantial amount of time to see through to conclusion, which will require the business to redirect resources that should be focused on sales and customer service. Furthermore, an updated knowledge and network of the funders is often lacking, as the funding landscape tends to change and is often on a project basis and not ongoing.
What’s The Process?
UH is there for the entire application, says Rawjee.
“We’re able to identify the options available, determine which will be most beneficial to a specific business and identify when and how to access them.”
Who They Help?
Businesses have to have at least two years’ operational history, says Rawjee.
“These clients are looking to grow their businesses to meet their customer’s demands for additional volume of goods currently manufactured and supplied to a strong client base, or new products where the customer or market have indicated the intention to buy such goods.
“Predominately we focus on businesses in the general manufacturing sector and agro-processing sectors who are looking to expand their factories, buy new machinery, recruit skilled staff and are looking to increase their sales locally and/or internationally through exporting to foreign markets,” says Rawjee.
Biggest Obstacles to Entrepreneurs Securing Funding
Financial and BBBEE compliance is often also lacking, says Rawjee, including annual financial statements, management accounts and tax clearance.
“Record keeping is essential if you would like to access developmental finance in the future. You need to ensure that you have a strong bookkeeping administrative system, accountants that would ensure you remain tax compliant and provide you with regular management accounts and annual financial statements,” says Rawjee.
They also have to manage expectations. “Timeframe of decision making to undertake an expansion project by the client often results in unrealistic expectations,” she adds.
Other Schemes Entrepreneurs Should Know
There are a number of instruments available to entrepreneurs, says Rawjee. They include: the Agroprocessing Scheme, which helps to stimulate investment by agri-business enterprises; the Export Marketing Investment Assistance Scheme, which develops export markets for South African products and services; Capital Projects Feasibility Scheme, a cost-sharing scheme, providing a contribution to the cost of feasibility studies aimed at increasing local exports; and the Critical Infrastructure Scheme, which aims to leverage investment by supporting infrastructure.