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An extensive guide to COVID-19 funding options

In a recent study by Startup Genome, 42% of small businesses globally have less than three months before they will not be in existence any more. This means that should these businesses not be able to create revenue or get funding in the next few months they will struggle. Are you one of these businesses? If so, here are some funding options to look into. Remember when considering funding it is important to understand the terms and conditions of the fund. You should also speak to a financial advisor if anything is unclear about the fund.

Here are the various funds which are available:

Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

The UIF has a launched the Coronavirus Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme (TERS). This fund offers relief for employers during the lockdown. To receive information about this you should send a blank email to this address: You will then get an automated response which will outline the procedure and documents or information required by the scheme to process the application. You should gather the information and documents and then send it to You can learn more about TERS here.

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

The IDC has launched the IDC COVID-19 Essential Supplies Intervention which is designed to assist companies who produce products that will help to treat, curtail and combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 SMME debt relief finance scheme

The fund is to benefit SMMEs who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. To access this fund your business must have been registered with the CIPC by 28 February 2020. To apply for this fund you need to register on the National SMME database and then complete the application form and email it to

South African Future Trust

The South Africa Future Trust (SAFT) was set up by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer, in partnership with the South African government and private sector to assist SMMEs to pay their employees during the coronavirus pandemic. The trust will give interest-free loans to the employees which will have to be paid back by the companies. SAFT has partnered with the leading banks in South Africa to assist SMMEs with their applications.

Here is how to apply for the trust at the various banks:

  • Absa clients can visit Absa’s dedicated SAFT website to learn more about the trust.
  • First National Bank (FNB) clients need to log in to their account and then click on the COVID-19 icon and then click on “for my business” and complete and submit the SME assessment.
  • Nedbank clients can visit Nebank’s dedicated SAFT website to learn more about the trust.
  • Standard Bank clients can apply here.
  • Investec clients that are qualifying SMMES can apply by emailing
  • Mercantile or Capitec clients can applyvia their relationship manager or email for assistance.

The Small Business needs to have a pre-existing account with the bank to gain access to these funds.

Youth Business Relief Fund:

This fund is for business owners between the ages of 18-35. You must be a South African citizen and your business must have existed before the COVID-19 pandemic started. This fund would like to focus on informal businesses who do not have the same support from the government as formal businesses. You can apply online.

COVID-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund

This fund is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. It is to help smallholding owners and communal farmers. You can learn more about the fund here and the application is here.

Tourism Relief Funding

The Department of Tourism has made R200 million available to help businesses in hospitality and tourism.

Giving for Hope Foundation

This fund is restricted to socially responsible (Shariah Compliant) SMMEs. The SMMEs should also have an annual turnover of less than 20 million per annum. You can learn more about the fund here.

Financial institutions

Banks and other types of financial institutions have options available for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are links to the financial institutions’ pages regarding COVID-19.

Besides the funding that has been made available by government and private enterprises, there have been some draft COVID-19 tax measures put in place. You can learn more about them from the National Treasury Website and the South African Revenue Services website.

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