GAUTENG OPENS PROCESS FOR RELIEF FUNDS TO HELP SMMES

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R100m boost for businesses affected by looting.

The Gauteng economic development department and Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) have opened applications for relief funds to boost small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the province.

The Gauteng rebuilding fund has set aside R100m for SMMEs in distress as a result of July’s civil unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic development MEC Parks Tau said the Gauteng rebuilding fund will help businesses affected by the unrest and Covid-19 to recover.

According to the department, R50m was raised by the provincial government and R50m through partnerships with the Industrial Development Corporation.

Tau said the damage caused by the looting and riots had a negative impact on small businesses.

“Small enterprises suffered the most, with some losing their entire stock and infrastructure. In Gauteng. Over 18,200 people lost their jobs… With 48% of SMMEs uninsured, it will be difficult for them to return to business soon.

“The Gauteng rebuilding fund is the first step towards bringing economic relief to informal enterprises which play a critical role in our township economy,” Tau said.

He said the fund has been modelled as a loan or grant blend, to help businesses cover rebuilding costs and repairs and replace infrastructure, inventory, equipment and critical supplies. It will also cover increased business security and employee costs.

“Businesses that have applied for insurance relief through the SA Special Risks Insurance Association or any other insurance are not eligible for assistance through the fund.

“Businesses that want financing for normal expansions or non-operational expenditure, such as bonuses or new enterprises, are also not eligible,” the MEC said.

Only businesses that are based in Gauteng and can prove they will be able to pay back the loan component of the fund can apply. Businesses must also provide proof that they were trading before the civil unrest.

GEP chief executive Saki Zamxaka said there was no closing date for applications, as they will be accepted until the funds are exhausted.

“The loan or grant blend will be capped at R1m for formal SMMEs and R50,000 for informal businesses.”

Qualifying businesses can apply online or download the application form from the GEP website at www.gep.co.za, visit their regional GEP office or call 087-057-2000.

 

Article written by: GCIS VUK’UZENZELE

Photo credit: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

Link: https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/sebenza-live/2021-10-12-gauteng-opens-process-for-relief-funds-to-help-smmes/

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