R1bn earmarked for SA small firms

9 July 2013

South African specialist risk finance firm Business Partners Limited has set aside over R1-billion to invest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 2013/14 as part of its effort to grow the economy and develop entrepreneurship in the country.

The funding will help develop the SME sector by providing business infrastructure, advice and after-care service.

SMEs are key drivers of wealth and the country’s economy and need to be supported to grow the economy, according to Business Partners executive director Christo Botes.

“Despite the challenging economic environment, we are finding that South African SMEs are still growing and there is an appetite for SME finance,” Botes said in a statement last week.

“Annually, new funds will be split approximately between real assets (50%), being property investment into purchases, joint ventures and financing of owner occupied properties; traditional family-owned, lifestyle small and growing businesses (40%) and high impact and risk deals (10%).”

Some of the investments will be filtered through the company’s R400-million Venture Fund, which was established in late 2012 to engage with businesses, concepts, products or services with high-growth potential.

This applies particularly in the technology, bio-technology, renewable energy and agro-processing sectors.

“We currently see a great deal of growth opportunity for SMEs within these sectors,” Botes said.

“These sectors are growing at a rapid rate in South Africa and the opportunities for businesses active in, or servicing, these sectors are vast. We aim to enable SMEs in these sectors to gear up in order to take advantage of future economic opportunities.”

Further opportunities will also be available in the rest of Africa. “The rest of Africa, with its consistent growth of more than 5% over the last few years, is opening up to South African businesses like never before,” he said.

“Every local service provider hired, or every supermarket that a South African retail chain opens north of the Limpopo, provides opportunities for supply chains back home.”

SAinfo reporter