Since its launch in 2007, the Masisizane Fund together with Old Mutual’s Enterprise and Supplier Development Fund collectively have approved over R750-million in funding to small businesses across the country, having already disbursed close to R600-million, while creating more than 8330 job opportunities in the process.
According to Masisizane’s website, the fund has also assisted over 300 enterprises, with 60% located in rural areas.
Zizipho Nyanga, the CEO of Masisizane Fund, a non-profit company said Masisizane Fund lends money to majority black-owned companies in rural areas. “We fund businesses in agriculture trying to get all those small farmers and help them along the way and hopefully graduate them into agro-processing so they can make more money and not only rely on primary agriculture.”
She told News24 that supporting the important SME sector is not just about financing and funding, but also about upliftment, up-skilling and sustainable long-term partnership and support.
Matatiele Grainco (Pty) Ltd is just one of the enterprises that the Masisizane Fund has empowered over the past 10 years of its existence. The initiative consists out of 26 black small-scale commercial farmers who are part of a cluster of eight cooperatives.
Matatiele Grainco, which is located on the border of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, forms part of the Masisizane Fund Agricultural Flagship Project (which integrates and clusters smallholder farmers into established and sustainable supply chains).
The cluster consists of five cooperatives in Umzimkhulu, two cooperatives in Matatiele and one cooperative in Nkwazini. The 26 shareholders of Matatiele Grainco jointly own or have access to over 20,000 hectares of arable land in Matatiele and Cedarville.
In 2015, Masisizane capitalized Matatiele Grainco for the amount of R5.6 million, enabling the co-op to acquire machinery for mechanized services. A year later, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform partnered with the Masisizane Fund and Matatiele Grainco by providing grant funding to assist in scaling up the investment.
The grant funding were used to purchase additional tractors, trucks and farm implements. By clustering these small-scale farmers together, Masisizane has enabled them to benefit from economies of scale, thereby stimulating value chain financing, agro-processing, and leveraged partnerships.
Fourteen farmers from the Eastern Cape are currently exporting more than 3,000 tons of maize to Vietnam through a partnership with the Grain Farmer Development Association and the Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform. The Matatiele farmers were part of this group who have their produce (grain) shipped from the KwaZulu-Natal port, according to Dispatch Live.
SME owners operating in the manufacturing, franchising and agricultural sectors, can reach out to the Masisizane Fund to apply for a mix of grants, loans and technical support, which aims to enable them to gain market access and create jobs.
The Fund, which is established in 2007 is an initiative of the life insurance company, Old Mutual. Masisizane Fund provides funding to enterprises that are black-owned, with a special focus on women, youth and people with disabilities that have contracts with private and public sector entities.
It also funds black-owned enterprises that are linked to clearly-defined Enterprise and Supplier Development Strategies of various corporate and government entities.
Here are case studies of companies from the three different sectors that Masisizane Fund empowers:
The company’s products include hospital linen, theatre drapes, theatre wear and patient wear. CTU Manufacturing is a 100% women-owned company that won numerous awards in 2017 from Masisizane Fund, which includes Business of the Year, Best Female-Owned Business of the Year and The Employer of the Year award.
Nonhlanhla Mphachoe and her business partner, Busisiwe Bhengu, first approached Masisizane in 2013. They needed R835 000 to purchase raw materials in order to upscale the business. The loan was facilitated through the Masisizane Fund’s Supply Chain Development unit, focusing on funding.
Their company which is based in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, has clients like the Gauteng Department of Health, private companies and offshore clients from as far afield as Mauritius.
CTU Manufacturing has over 70 permanent employees, a number that increases to more than 90 workers during peak hours.
This is a 50% youth-owned and 100% black-owned Chicken Licken franchise based in Kuruman.
The business is operated by Otsile Brian Gape Raleie (Brian) and Patrick Sibusiso Ngwenya (Sbu), who together contributed R1-mil towards transactions.
The entrepreneurs’ company was funded R3.3-mil. in February 2018. Their business currently employs 25 people, who resides in the local community.
This 100% woman-owned company is focused on exploiting growing opportunities in the rabbit meat industry.
Founded by a woman, Dimakatso Sarah Sekhoto (36), the operation runs on a rented farm in Senekal, Thabo Mofutsanyana district of the Free State. Sekoto entered into a ten year agreement with Coniglio Rabbit Meat Farm, based in Cape Town. The terms of the contract are that Atisa will grow rabbits for the sole supply of Coniglio.
Masisizane Fund approved a grant amount to R2,5-mil that was used for infrastructural development, buying the first breeding stock as well as working capital.
Sekoto’s business employs nine permanent staff members and is expected to create seasonal employment from time to time once it starts running full operation.