SEFA strives to assist small businesses

Business people listen attentively to the presentation.

Business people attending the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) awareness campaign, held at the Khayelitsha Training Centre, on Thursday March 15, hailed it as an eye-opener.

The agency informed Small Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) how they can access finance from SEFA. Speaking to Vukani after the event, established and budding entrepreneurs said the campaign was worthwhile because they learned a lot about the role of SEFA.

The agency said access to finance was one of the main challenges that hampered the development of small businesses which battled to access credit from commercial banks.

SEFA regional manager Bonita Daniels took entrepreneurs through a detailed presentation on how to access SEFA’s assistance.

She said their target groups were black-owned businesses, youth, women and people with disabilities.

“We fund start-ups or if you want to buy a franchise or acquire a business. One has to be a registered entity with a fixed physical address. But one needs to have a tax certificate too and show sustainability.

Ms Daniels said they dd not finance shebeens or people who run liquor stores , unless one ran a restaurant.

SEFA designed the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme specifically for people with disabilities and urged these business owners to make use of their services.

Ms Daniels said SEFA also provided post-funding mentorship to SMMEs and monitored their progress. She said the agency provided access to finance for small businesses and cooperatives of up to R5 million with varied repayment periods.

Nothemba Gqiba, head of marketing and communications at SEFA, said they love working with small and emerging businesses. He urged business people to use SEFA to their advantage. “We help them realise their dreams. We are happy to work with small businesses. We want to see them empowered. They need to think wisely when running their businesses.
Ms Gqiba told those present to only work with credible and trustworthy people, including business suppliers.

Businessman Luthando Adonis said some of his questions had been answered at the session. He said the government should continue to empower businesses, especially those owned by black people, by organising more of these awareness campaigns.

“The session was very good for SMMEs and it will help the business community to access funds for our businesses. But the session was not enough. We need more of these sessions. They need to be well organised so that many would know about them. We were many but we should have been more,” he told Vukani.

Another business person, Noluthando Dinginto said the campaign was long overdue. “Where were they all the time? I am now more clear who they are and their intentions. Had this been presented to us a while ago, I guess many young people would have been successful. I think they should come back again,” she said.

The SEFA offices are at Harare library in Khayelitsha.