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Fund offers relief for SMEs in agro-processing and manufacturing sector

A recently-launched fund is offering qualifying small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the agro–processing and manufacturing sectors access to much needed debt funding. The South African SME Debt Fund –  a partnership between Sanlam Investments and the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) – was launched in the second quarter of 2022 with initial capital of R400-million available to help SMEs in these sectors reach their full potential.

Eligible businesses should have a three-year track record, high-growth potential and stable business strategies. The loans are priced at a maximum interest rate of prime, with an equity upside to yield a further 5% return. Loans will be repaid within a maximum period of 60 months. The fund is focussed primarily on supporting black-owned businesses; however, all eligible applications will be considered.

SMEs –  and in particular those in the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors –  have been recognised as strategic priorities in a number of key government plans. But accessing funding remains tough.

For the past 12 years, Vukile Themba-Mketo, portfolio manager at Sanlam Investments, together with her team, has run a number of debt funds aimed at offering smaller businesses access to funding to help them grow and thrive. “We don’t want to see SMEs – with all the hope they offer for growth and employment – left behind because they can’t access capital.”

She says that the newly launched fund is aligned with the UNs Sustainable Development Goals:          
1 – No poverty; 8 – Decent work and economic growth, and 10 – Reduced inequalities.

Shafeeq Abrahams, chief executive and principal officer at the EPPF, explains that the focus on these sectors is largely driven by their massive potential to employ so many people, creating a multiplier effect that strengthens the economy.

“With South Africa’s current unemployment rate at 35.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021, we need to do better as a nation. We need to reduce our reliance on imports, spur the growth of the economy and ensure food security for all. At the same time, we must provide the required investment returns to enable the fund to pay benefits to its members.”

Accessing the funding

  • Earmarked for businesses in the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors, the funding is aimed at SMEs with a three-year track record, high growth potential and stable business strategies. The loans are priced at a maximum interest rate of prime, with an equity upside to yield a further 5% return. They can be repaid within a maximum period of 60 months.
  • The debt fund will prioritise businesses that have been in existence for at least three years and have shown signs of profitability before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For more information about applying for funding visit our website or email


Sanlam Investments consists of the following authorised Financial Services Providers: Sanlam Investment Management (Pty) Ltd (“SIM”), Sanlam Multi Manager International (Pty) Ltd (“SMMI”), Satrix Managers (RF) (Pty) Ltd, Graviton Wealth Management (Pty) Ltd (“GWM”), Graviton Financial Partners (Pty) Ltd (“GFP”), Satrix Investments (Pty) Ltd, Amplify Investment Partners (Pty) Ltd (“Amplify”), Sanlam Africa Real Estate Advisor Pty Ltd (“SAREA”) and Sanlam Asset Management Ireland (“SAMI”); and has the following approved Management Companies under the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act: Sanlam Collective Investments (RF)(Pty) Ltd (“SCI”) and Satrix Managers (RF)(Pty) Ltd (“Satrix”).

The information does not constitute financial advice, is intended for broker training purposes and may not be distributed to any investors. While every effort has been made to ensure the reasonableness and accuracy of the information contained in this document (“the information”), The FSP’s, its shareholders, subsidiaries, clients, agents, officers and employees do not make any representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or suitability of the information and shall not be held responsible and disclaims all liability for any loss, liability and damage whatsoever suffered as a result of or which may be attributable, directly or indirectly, to any use of or reliance upon the information.

NSBC Africa is proudly associated with Sanlam Investments

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