A Guide to the Tourism Transformation Fund

Posted on November 10th, 2023
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Tourism transformation fund

There are various government initiatives to help South African businesses. One of these is the Tourism Transformation Fund – an initiative that aims to grow black-owned businesses in the tourism sector. If you’re eligible and are looking for a financial boost for your business, then this fund can be a great choice. This guide covers everything you need to know about how the fund works and how to apply for it.

What is the Tourism Transformation Fund?

The Tourism Transformation Fund (TTF) is a dedicated capital investment initiative established between the Department of Tourism and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF).

The main focus of the TTF is to provide financial support to black investors and communities engaged in capital projects within the tourism sector. This is done to drive transformation within the tourism industry in a direct and impactful manner. The TTF seeks to assist black-owned tourism enterprises in expanding and growing, while also fostering the emergence of a new generation of black-owned youth, women, and community-driven tourism ventures.

How Does the Tourism Transformation Funs Work?

The Tourism Transformation Fund is entrusted to the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) on behalf of the Department of Tourism. The fund offers a combination of financial instruments to qualifying applicants. This includes grant funding, debt financing, and equity contributions. These resources are intended to facilitate capital investment in the tourism sector, particularly for prospective black investors.

The grant funding component of the TTF exists to reduce the approved loan finance or equity contribution required by the NEF for tourism projects. This grant funding is capped at 30% of the total funding needed, up to a maximum limit of R 5 million per applicant. By providing this financial support, the Tourism Transformation Fund can empower black individuals and communities to play a more significant role in the tourism industry. Growing and transforming this sector plays a major role in improving South Africa’s economic landscape.

Tourism Transformation Fund Application Process

If you meet the right requirements and are interested in applying for  TTF funding, here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Submit Application Forms and Supporting Documents

Applicants interested in accessing funding through the TTF need to prepare and submit their application forms, as well as provide the necessary supporting documents. These documents need to be sent directly to the National Empowerment Fund (NEF).

Assessment of Commercial Viability and TTF Eligibility

The NEF is responsible for assessing the applications received. During this evaluation process, the NEF will consider the commercial viability of the proposed tourism project and determine whether it’s eligible for TTF funding. This step is crucial, as any projects funded through the TTF need to be financially sound. The assessment process can involve looking at the existing business’s finances and operations, as well as reviewing business plans for growing organizations.

Who Can Apply?

Only businesses that meet specific criteria can apply for TTF funding. This includes the following requirements:

  • Your business project should show that it’s commercially viable and sustainable, as assessed by the NEF.
  • The majority of your enterprise (at least 51%) must be owned by black individuals.
  • Your business should have black management in control.
  • Shareholders need to actively participate in the business operations.
  • Your enterprise must be legally registered in South Africa under South African law.
  • Your business should qualify as a black-owned Exempted Micro Enterprise (EME) or Qualifying Small Enterprise (QSE) according to the Amended Tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Sector Code.
  • Your business must offer services directly to tourists.
  • The grant funding can be used for both new (greenfield) and existing (brownfield) projects in the tourism sector.
  • You may be asked to provide a reasonable percentage of the total funding as your own contribution (typically 10% of the total funding application).

Putting in Your Application

Detailed information about the Tourism Transformation Fund, including the application form and checklist, can be obtained from the NEF’s official website. Any prospective applicants need to review this information thoroughly to understand the fund’s requirements and expectations. Any submissions that don’t meet the requirements or are not complete won’t be considered.

For any inquiries or to submit TTF applications, applicants should use the designated email address: tourism@nefcorp.co.za.

South Africa’s tourism sector offers endless potential. With initiatives like the TTF in place, entrepreneurs from all backgrounds are able to get a competitive start in the industry. If you’re eligible for TTF funding and are looking for a financial boost for your businesses, then this initiative can be the perfect solution.