Everything You Need to Know About the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) Funding

Updated on 10 August 2023

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SEFA Funding

Whether you’re expanding your existing business or are looking for startup capital, various funding options exist in South Africa. SEFA is one option that all businesses looking for funding should consider.

SEFA is an agency that offers a wide range of funding solutions and business support to all kinds of businesses in South Africa. The agency includes various loan and grant options available to different industries and business types. No matter what your business does, or what it needs funding for, SEFA should offer a viable solution.

Let’s explore everything you need to know about SEFA funding, including what you can access and how to apply.

What is SEFA Funding?

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) is an organisation that provides financial support to SMEs in South Africa. The fund offers a range of loan and grant options to small businesses to help them grow more sustainably. Qualifying businesses can access between R500,000 to R15 million in financing through SEFA’s Direct Lending and Wholesale Lending programmes.

SEFA was established in 2012 after South African Micro Apex Fund, Khula Enterprise Finance Ltd, merged with the small business activities of IDC. SEFA operates to foster the establishment, survival and growth of SMMEs while contributing towards poverty alleviation and job creation.

Qualifying businesses can access property and asset financing through Direct Lending options. SEFA’s Wholesale Lending offers businesses access to a credit guarantee, as well as equity. This financing is made available through bridging, revolving, or term loans.

Beyond the financing aspect, SEFA also provides post-funding business development and support. This includes business and technical support, commercial and industrial property rental, and institutional strengthening. This support is available when SEFA identifies problem areas.

Who Can Apply for SEFA Funding?

SEFA’s various funds are always available for application. There are specific qualifying criteria for each fund.

SEFA gives priority to businesses in the services, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Businesses that operate in construction, mining, green industries, and IT are also prioritised for funding.

However, SEFA funding options are open to all kinds of businesses and applicants across all industries. The organisation aims to make the necessary funding available to all small businesses in South Africa.

SEFA Funding Programmes

SEFA offers a range of different funding initiatives. Some of the programmes include:

  • Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Funding Programme
  • Small Enterprise Manufacturing Support Programme
  • National Youth Policy
  • Inyamazane Funding Scheme (for military veterans)
  • Amavulandlela Funding Scheme (for people with disabilities)
  • Godisa Supplier Development Fund (for Transnet suppliers)

It’s important to understand what specific funding programmes your business can apply for. You’ll also need to understand the different loan options available through SEFA. These include:

  • Direct Lending: Loans that SEFA provides directly to SMEs and cooperatives that cover all sectors of the economy
  • Cooperatives: A range of specialist loan products available for cooperatives seeking funding for different needs.
  • Bridging loans: Short-term loans supplied for working capital needs. These are only available for B2Bs that have secured contracts (orders) from their clients).
  • Term loans: Loans with specified amounts and payment schedules that follow floating or fixed interest rates. These are used to finance assets, startups, expansions, or business acquisitions.
  • Structured finance: An option to finance businesses that don’t meet the parameters for terms and bridge loan facilities. These loans are available for a maximum of five years.
  • Wholesale Lending: A range of lending products that provide facilities (debt/equity) to intermediaries, joint ventures, partnerships (specialised Funds) and other collaborative relationships. The aim here is to make SEFA funding available to all businesses.

How to Apply for SEFA Funding

If your business qualifies for the right SEFA funding option, you can apply by submitting the following documents:

  • Certified ID copies
  • Certified copies of your business registration and compliance documentation
  • Any supporting quotations for the required assistance
  • A personal income and expenditure schedule
  • An assets and liability statement

Contact SEFA directly at 012 748 9600, email helpline@sefa.org.za or visit the SEFA website for more details or queries.

If you have a specific funding requirement for your business, then there’s a good chance you could access it through SEFA. This can be a highly useful agency for all kinds of small to medium-sized businesses operating in South Africa.

Understand the different funding options available and know what solutions could apply to your business. The right SEFA funding solution could help your business access the capital and support it needs to achieve its growth goals.

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