Small Business Development

Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)

Seda  supports the growth of small business. People can go to Seda for help to start a business or, if they already have a business, to make it stronger and more profitable. There is a Seda branch in each district municipality. These branches offer:

  • information, advice and referrals
  • tender information and advice
  • import and export training
  • trade information
  • business assessments and business mentoring
  • technical support
  • market access
  • business linkages

In addition to helping individuals in business, Seda has a special focus on co-operative enterprises, where a group of entrepreneurs share the profits and responsibility of a business.

Contact Seda:  012 441 1000
Business Information Centre:  0860 103 703

How to write a business plan

The first thing you need to do is state clearly and specifically what your business idea is. Very simply, you need to say what you intend doing, how you plan on doing it, when you plan to do it and why you believe you will succeed. In the process of doing that, you need to do some research into whether your idea and your plan will really work.  Your business plan should cover four main areas:

  • Your strategic focus (your “niche”, or “core business”):  What exactly is it that your business will do? What makes it special? What won’t your business do?
  • The marketing plan: How are you going to promote your product?  How are you going to price your product?  How do you plan on getting your product to your market?
  • The operations plan: What staff will you have and what will they do?  Who will supply you with what you need?  How will you manage your business?
  • The financial plan: What profits and losses will you make?  How much sales do you need to make to break even?  How much cash do you need to cover costs each month?  What is the source of your funds?  How will you use your funds?  If you need a loan, then what can you offer as security for that loan?

Important advice:

  • Work out how big your market is (the total number of people who will buy your product).
  • Is the market growing or not?  (Is there increasing demand for your product or is there an over-supply?)
  • List all the factors about your business that will bring you success (e.g.  is it in a good place, is it cheap, is it very high quality?).

Look carefully at your situation and make a list of the following:

  • your strengths and weaknesses in comparison with your competitors
  • all the obvious market opportunities and threats
  • the advantages you have over your competitors
  • advantages that your competitors have over you
  • ways of using your advantages to your benefit
  • how you will deal with the disadvantages you face
  • what must be done, when it must be done and how it be done.

Co-operatives Incentive Scheme (CIS)

Successful applicants are given cash grants so that their cooperative can obtain good quality services that will help them to grow their business. The Cooperative Incentive Scheme helps cooperatives from all industries: textiles, services, energy, agriculture, print, film, and video production, consumer and housing. For a cooperative to qualify for a grant, it needs to:

  • be mainly black-owned
  • be actively helping to create employment and overcome poverty
  • be registered according to the Cooperatives Act, 14 of 2005
  • have a simple Business Plan, which must be attached to applications forms
  • provide quotations for the services for which it requires funding.

How to register a co-operative

To register your cooperative, you will need to fill in Form CR1 – Application for registration of primary/secondary/tertiary cooperative. You will then be notified of the other forms you will need to fill in, in the course of registering your cooperative.

Contact the Department of Trade and Industry:
012 394-1425/394-1608

Black Business Supplier Development Programme

This programme offers grants in a cost-sharing scheme to black-owned business for the purpose of business skills training. It offers support to black-owned enterprises by helping to improve their core competencies and management abilities, and enabling them to become more competitive. The scheme helps people with promotional marketing materials, software development and other activities such as quality improvement, processes and product improvement.

Companies that are majority black-owned (15% or more) and which have a significant representation of black managers on their management team quality for the grant. Companies should not earn more than R12 million per annum and must have been trading for at least a year. They need to be registered with CIPRO and with SARS. The maximum grant for which a single company can qualify is R100 000.

Application procedure: Obtain application guidelines and an application form.  Complete the application form. Obtain and attach a tax clearance certificate, and submit the application.

Contact the Department of Trade and Industry Customer Care Centre:  0861 843 384

Finance for Small Businesses

Khula Enterprise Finance LTD

Khula helps SMMEs to get loans from banks. It does not lend money itself. Khula also provides mentorship to entrepreneurs, helping them to manage their businesses successfully. The mentorship programme includes the transfer of skills on a face-to-face basis, the development of viable business plans, and pre- and post-loan services.

Contact Khula:  012 394-5560/5900 or 0800 11 88 15

South African Micro Finance Apex Fund (Samaf)

Samaf gives financial services to small-scale entrepreneurs living in rural and outer urban areas. Samaf does not lend money directly to the public. It uses existing institutions within communities to handle the funds and lend to qualifying entrepreneurs. Samaf has three products:  the Micro-Credit Fund (gives loans to entrepreneurs), the Capacity Building Fund (gives funds to be used for equipping the institutions with skills, system and equipment) and the Savings Mobilisation Fund (encourages savings).

Contact Samaf:  012 394-1805

Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods

This is a programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It aims to create jobs for communities by helping to establish SMMEs. In particular, it makes use of technologies which can add value to SMMEs and makes them accessible to communities. At the same time, the programme helps to make these SMMEs successful by offering skills development and training.

The DST offers technological assistance in the following areas:

  • Aquaculture: Communities are trained to farm indigenous fish as a business. They receive technology in terms of infrastructure (production cages) and training to manage a fish farm, including diseases and harvesting.
  • Essential oils: These are valuable oils that are extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants. Communities benefit from skills development and training, and their businesses are linked to the local essential oils market.
  • Indigenous medicinal plants:  Communities are taught to grow indigenous herbs commercially. These plants have special medicinal properties which have been scientifically proven. Communities receive training in farming methods and in how to start a commercial enterprise and their businesses are linked to local markets.

The DST does not support individuals, only communities and community groups. These communities are then helped to form a viable community business, in the form of a Section 21 Company or cooperative. In order to use these technologies and produce valuable crops in essential oils and indigenous medicinal plants, communities need to have access to suitable agricultural land.  Similarly, communities that want to benefit from fish farming must have access to irrigation dams.

Contact the DST Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods:   012 843-6421/18

Registering your business

When you start a business, it needs to be registered. To do so, fill in the relevant forms and submit them to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO).

Contact CIPRO:  0861 843 384

Support For Youth


The Umsobomvu Youth Fund helps youth set up, expand and develop their businesses by teaching them essential business skills. Umsobomvu has the following programmes:

  • The Franchise Fund helps youth to start and maintain their businesses. Through loans and a voucher system, it helps young people to access business support.
  • Entrepreneurship Education Training: This training is aimed at helping young people understand the concepts and principles of entrepreneurship and business.
  • Cooperative Training: This is basic training for young people on setting up and running a youth cooperative business.
  • Graduate Development Training: This is a training programme for unemployed graduates to enhance their life and professional skills.
  • Business Consulting Services Voucher: These are services designed to help youth set up, expand or develop their businesses.

Umsobomvu youth Advisory Centres (YACs) are walk-in centres around the country where youth can receive information, training and referrals services – in fact, everything they need to find employment or start their own businesses. YACs provide outreach services to communities that are unable to get to the centres, by taking career information, skills development and entrepreneurial advice to local schools in Mobile YACs.

Contact Umsobomvu:  08600 YOUTH (96884)
Contact Umsobomvu Business Partnership:  011 470-3111

National Youth Service (NYS)

The National Youth Services is about involving young people in the development of our country. It is an opportunity for young people to actively serve their communities. The National Youth Service Programme aims to create a culture of service. It develops the skills, knowledge and abilities of young people. It also improves youth employability by giving opportunities for work experience and skills development, and by providing further learning opportunities.

For more information on the NYS, turn to the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Support For Women

South African Women in Construction (Sawic)

Sawic is a national association of women enterprises or professionals and technical staff in all areas of construction, from the skilled trades to business ownership, with international affiliation to the National association of Women in Construction (Nawic). Sawic administers, facilitates, advocates and lobbies all the Departments of Public Works for the empowerment of its members.

Contact Sawic:  012 337-2400/2174

Technology for Women in Business (TWIB)

This programme aims to make science and technology more accessible to women in business, especially those in SMMEs.

Contact TWIB:  012 394-1644

Gender and Women Empowerment Unit

The Gender and Women Empowerment Unit of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) manages the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SAWEN). SAWEN helps women overcome the obstacles that they still experience in business.

It compiles a database of women-owned enterprises, in order to help women help one another. It organises networking forums, facilitates capacity-building programmes, and lobbies and advocates for policies that support women entrepreneurs.

Contact the Department of Trade and Industry: 012 394-1606

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