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SMME Creatives, Here Is How You Can Access The “Debt Relief Fund” During The Coronavirus Pandemic

How SMME Creatives can access the "Debt Relief Fund" during the Corona Virus pandemic

Here’s how SMME creatives can access the “Debt Relief Fund” during the Corona Virus Pandemic.

The recent spread of the Corona Virus hit Mzansi a little while back and the number has increased by the day. To further reduce the spread of the virus and also control it, President Ramaphosa announced a three week lockdown all over the country. The lockdown is scheduled to started today, Thursday, 26 March at midnight till the middle weeks of April.

The locked down is also expected to have a huge impact on businesses and their employees and this has been noted by the government. However, to reduce the impact on small businesses so as to help revive the economy after the lockdown, the president announced the “Debt Relief Fund”.

The fund is set up to help reduce the impact of the economic shutdown, and help revive Small, Micro, and Medium Enterprises. Speaking about the fund, Small Business minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni revealed that it is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments. However to be eligible for the assistance under the “Debt Relief Fund, Ntshavheni announced that the applicant must demonstrate a potential or direct impact of COVID-19 on their business operations.

The initiative is also expected to assist businesses to acquire raw material, pay their labour and also offset operational costs. Ntshavheni also revealed that “these interventions will be structured to match the patterns of the SMMEs cash flows, as well as the extent of the impact suffered.”

Now here’s how to qualify to gain access to the fund during the nationwide lockdown.

Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise creatives will be to required to first register on the SMME South Africa platform here. While registering, they will also be required to share some information about their businesses including;

  1. The business’s annual turnover
  2. Its shareholders (Current BEE standing included)
  3. Total number of the business’s employees
  4. Employee demographics
  5. Sub-sectors of the business.

Without revealing all this info, the business may not be eligible to access the fund. However, sharing this information to the database also makes it able to access more business opportunities in the future. Not only that, the stored info can also be used to apply for both financial and non-financial assistance, and even access market opportunity. This was all revealed by Ntshavheni.

She also revealed that the department will launch a “Business Growth/Resilience Facility” which is beneficial to SMMEs because it enables their continued participation in supply value-chains. This is particularly for businesses who manufacture and supply items which are in huge demand due to the recent pandemic. Ntshavheni revealed that the facility will offer working capital, stock, bridging finance, order finance and equipment finance. The required amount will be based on the business’s funding needs.

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