Small businesses in KwaZulu-Natal that suffered from July civil unrest have been urged to apply for the Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal Business Support Fund before the closing date. Applications opened on 6 October and will close on 25 October. The R30-million fund is the result of a partnership between Trade and Investment KZN (TIKZN) and the Industrial Development Corporation.
Its aim is to help businesses return to normal. According to Ndumiso Mlambo from the One Stop Shop in TIKZN, who spoke during a recent webinar, the fund was capped at R1-million and there were three categories of applicants. Category A was for those applying for less than R50,000, the next one was for businesses needing between R50,000 to R300,000, and the last category was for businesses that applied for between R300,000 and R1-million.
“The fund is intended to assist businesses and reinstate them to the conditions they were before the unrest, and it is also intended to rebuild the KZN economy,” he said. Mlambo also said that the different categories had different requirements.
Once applicants had attached forms and submitted documents, the applications would go through three assessment phases. “The application will go through the screening committee which examines the application, after which it will go to the evaluation committee which will do due diligence before it is taken to the adjudication committee,” he explained.
“Businesses that are paying under category A must attach an affidavit or case number to prove that the business reported the unrest. Businesses must also be 100% South African-owned… “This category is also looking to assist businesses located in rural areas and townships to give them a priority. The business must also have been in operation for six months,” Mlambo said.
A tax clearance certificate and the latest three months bank statements had to be handed in for those in Category B. “For Category C we are looking at entities that will submit their financial statements for the last two years,” he pointed out. “If the business is given R1-million, we want to know how the business will use the fund, so we will be expecting three years’ cash projections.”
Mlambo said that drop sites had been organised for businesses unable to email their documents. “It is very important for businesses to apply as soon as possible so we can avoid a situation of many applications coming in at the last minute,” he said. Physical documents could be sent to Edtea district offices in all district municipalities and at the TIKZN offices in Durban.