Who can fund my business in South Africa?

You have a great business idea and it’s sure to change your world and maybe everyone else’s too. Now if you could just get some funding…The good news is that there are several different organisations that you can approach to fund your business, from banks and venture capitalists to government.

Venture capital finance

This is where private equity capital is used as seed funding for businesses that are considered high-growth with high potential. You can access a detailed list of venture capital and private equity firms on the South African Venture Capital Association website. Some funders will provide funds specifically for research and development while seed funders will help you finance your business so that it is ready to take to market. You will also find what is known as post-revenue generating funders. These funders require you to have a sales track record and proven market interest in your product or service.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTi)

The DTi has an incubation support programme which helps new businesses during their first three years, usually the most critical time for a new business. The programme offers funding of up to R10 million per enterprise, in partnership with larger companies that contribute funds and also play a mentorship support role. Details are available on the DTi website.

Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa)

Sefa is a result of the merger of the South African Micro Apex Fund, Khula Enterprise Finance Ltd and the small business activities of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). Sefa offers loans from R500 up to R5 million. There are several criteria if you want to access funding via Sefa. For example, the business must operate within South Africa and you have to be a sole trader with a fixed physical address. You have to have a written proposal or business plan and you must be able to show that you are able to repay the loan.

Business Partners

Business Partners considers all business finance applications up toR50 million, regardless of what sector of the economy you want to engage in. 

Business Partners considers financing options from R500 000 up to R50 million per application. Property transactions up to R30 million and joint venture multi tenanted properties of up to R75 million may be considered.

Bank funding

If you are starting a small business, you can approach your bank for a business loan. In recent years, the banks have woken up to the huge potential for business within the small start-up enterprise industry and have started catering for this market with specialist products such as Absa’s Enterprise Development unit  and Nedbank’s Small Business Service unit.

Crowdfunding

This is a relatively new way to finance something and is quite the craze internationally although it has still to gain traction in South Africa. Websites such as www.investmentnetwork.co.za offer you the platform to showcase your project or business idea and interested members of the public then pledge money towards your project. The website is affiliated to the Angel Investment Network, which has 30 networks worldwide covering more than 80 countries across Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. After an initial contact fee they charge no additional fees or commissions, as you then deal directly with your investors.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chief executive of Apple.

What are you waiting for?With a wealth of options so readily available, it’s worth trying to get your business the funding boost it needs. You may have to contend with quite a bit of paperwork, so get yourself ready… It could be the cleverest move you’ve ever made.


Overview of Public Universities in South Africa

Here's an overview of some public universities in South Africa, including general admissions requirements and estimated application periods. Keep in mind, specific program requirements and dates can vary significantly, so it's important to check each university's official website for the most current information.

University of Pretoria

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with minimum scores in specific subjects related to the chosen program; for international students, equivalent qualifications.
  • Application Period: Usually opens in March and closes at the end of July for most programs.

University of Cape Town

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with pass levels required for degree study; subject-specific requirements depending on the program.
  • Application Period: Application opens in April and closes at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required marks; some programs have additional testing.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and typically closes at the end of June.

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Admissions Requirements: Matriculation certificate with university exemption; required scores vary by faculty.
  • Application Period: Begins in March and ends on the 30th of September.

University of Johannesburg

  • Admissions Requirements: Matric exemption with a minimum APS score; specific subject requirements based on the faculty.
  • Application Period: Opens in April and generally closes by the 30th of September.

University of the Free State

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific marks for the program applied to; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Typically opens in April and closes at the end of August.

University of Venda

  • Admissions Requirements: Completion of the National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for diploma or degree studies; specific APS scores needed.
  • Application Period: Usually from May to September.

University of Fort Hare

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; certain programs may have specific requirements.
  • Application Period: Opens around May and closes at the end of September.

University of the Western Cape

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific performance levels; additional requirements for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Generally from May to September.

North-West University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; program-specific requirements may apply.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and usually closes by the end of August.

Rhodes University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate or equivalent; minimum academic performance in certain subjects.
  • Application Period: Applications open in April and close at the end of September.

Nelson Mandela University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; portfolio or additional tests for some faculties.
  • Application Period: Opens in April, with a deadline at the end of August for most programs.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Opens in May and typically closes by the end of September.

University of Limpopo

  • Admissions Requirements: Senior Certificate with endorsement for diploma or degree courses; specific APS scores for different programs.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

University of Zululand

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for bachelor’s degree studies; specific score requirements for various programs.
  • Application Period: Usually between April and November.

Central University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores for the chosen field of study; additional criteria for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Application period generally starts in May and ends in October.

Vaal University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with a pass that qualifies for admission to bachelor’s degree, diploma, or higher certificate programs.
  • Application Period: Typically from May to September.

Walter Sisulu University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; additional criteria for certain faculties.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

This list provides a starting point for understanding the admissions landscape across South Africa's diverse higher education institutions. Given the variability in programs and requirements, it's crucial to consult each university's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.