Northern Cape SMMEs owned by persons with disabilities, women and young people can now benefit from an R80 million Enterprise Fund launched in the province a few days ago. Qualifying enterprises can now apply for the grant which opened on Saturday. The Ministry of Youth, Women and Persons with Disabilities says their target is enterprises with little to no financial support. Margaret Mothibi filed this report.
Premier Zamani Saul launched the highly anticipated Youth, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Enterprise Fund. R9 million went into the pockets of two National First Division soccer teams in the province Hungry Lions and Upington City FC.
The Richmond Ladies Football Club also bagged a few millions. Over 500 business owners in attendance are hoping to be next in line.
“We really need this, our NPO’s and the youth to keep them away from drugs and all those things. I am so happy we just want to say Premier, thank you, thank you,” A business owner elaborates.
“I feel very positive. I think it’s for a good cause and the whole presentation just brought more light into where the money is going and how they are trying to improve our lifestyles, whether it’s youth or disabled people, so I feel very positive,” explains s business owner.
The funding is divided into three categories. Premier Zamani Saul says their hope is that those who will be funded will help grow the economy.
“The first fund is called the Enterprise Fund, and the second fund is called the Container Business Solution, which is called unboxing Basha and the third one is called Township and the Rural Economy Grant Fund. So basically, we are here to launch these three funds,” says Saul.
“For the enterprise fund, there is R30million allocation, for unboxing Basha R30 million allocation for Township and Rural Economy Grant, there is R20 million available for that, in total it’s a funding of R80million. In order for us to grow the economy of the province, we need to create life, vibrancy and dynamism in that economy,” says Saul.
SMMEs who will make the cut will also get business incubation and mentorship. MEC Venus Blennies says she hopes the fund will inject new life into qualifying small businesses.
“This goes to support businesses that youth, women and persons with disabilities to ensure that we help grow their businesses but also for those startups to ensure that we get them off the group. The second thing that we launched was unboxing Basha and citing a project which will focus on tackling to township economy basically. This is a project where we will be getting young people container businesses be it your Spaza shop, be it your salon be it your bakery…we will take them through intensive training to make sure that the businesses are sustainable,” says Blennies.
Applications for funding close next month. Interested SMMEs can access application forms on the provincial website. Some attendees say they hope the monies will not only benefit those connected to fund distributors. But that it will end in the pockets of deserving SMMEs.
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