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guide to Small Business Grants

A Guide to Small Business Grants in South Africa

South Africa is a growing economy with new, small businesses emerging daily. South Africans are natural entrepreneurs – they are always finding solutions to everyday problems, and they grab opportunities with both hands.

However, this entrepreneurial ambition needs to be supported by capital, which is not easy to accumulate. Grants are available for South African businesses that demonstrate potential but may not possess the necessary capital to grow.

What is a Small Business Grant?

Small businesses, especially those aiming to grow and set up new operational functions, do not usually have the capital to fund these activities. Therefore, they often look at external funding solutions for assistance.

Small business grants are specific portions of money provided by South African government bodies or private businesses and are exclusively awarded to non-profit, state, and federal organisations. The purpose of a small business grant is to assist these organisations in efficiently achieving their goals.

Since grants do not need to be repaid, organisations that receive them are presented with a unique opportunity to grow their business, achieve specific objectives, and establish a strong foundation for future success.

Businesses that receive grants can run their business operations efficiently without having to worry about incurring debt.

What is a Small Business Grant

Find out more: Thinking of buying a business? Read our guide on how to buy a business for helpful tips.

What is the Difference Between a Grant and a Loan?

The greatest difference between a grant and a loan is that an individual does not need to repay a grant.

However, individuals are required to repay loans that they receive some time in the future. Additionally, businesses and individuals need to meet different criteria when applying for a grant compared to applying for a loan. The time period it takes for a grant to be approved usually differs to that of a loan.

Both grants and loans may come from various sources, including:

  • Financial institutions
  • Government institutions
  • Private organisations
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Friends and family

When one of the sources above provides a grant, they are known as the grantor. Alternatively, when one of the sources above provides a loan, they are known as the lender. This is important to note since the intent and expectations of a grantor is vastly different from a lender.

Find out more: Looking for funding? Read our loans to buy a business guide for helpful tips and funding options.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Business Grant


  • Grants do not have to be repaid
  • Grants allow businesses to effectively scale and grow
  • Once you receive your first grant, it will become easier in the future to receive further grants
  • You do not need to give a portion of your business’s shares away when receiving a grant (compared to other business finance services, where you may need to sell or give a portion of your business shares to the lender)


  • The process of being accepted for a business grant in South Africa is often time-consuming
  • A business is not guaranteed to receive a grant
  • The money received from a grant must be used in a specific and strict manner (money is allocated to specific business activities only)
  • Grants often come with certain terms and conditions
  • Not all businesses are eligible to apply for a business grant

Main Portal Links for Grants in all Provinces

Below is a list of provincial specific sites and resources where a variety of grants can be accessed.


Gauteng Province Official Funding and Granting

Gauteng Partnership Fund

Gauteng Enterprise Propeller

Gauteng City Region Academy

Gauteng Growth and Development Agency

Gauteng Enterprise Propeller

Western Cape

Black Business Supplier Program

Western Cape Economic Development Partnership

Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas

The Sozo Foundation

City of Cape Town Event Support

Northern Cape

Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Northern Cape Economic Development Trade and Investment Promotion Agency

Northern Cape Blended SMME Fund

Northern Cape Premiers’ Education Trust Fund


KZN Youth Fund Grant

Operation Vula Fund District

KZN Growth Fund

KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission Film Fund

Eastern Cape

Black Business Supplier Development Programme

Eastern Cape Development Corporation

Trading Up and Rural Agro Industrialization Project

Free State

Free State Development Corporation

Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs

Higher Education Bursary


Limpopo Economic Development Agency

Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

North West

North West Development Corporation

North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism


Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency

South African Grants You Can Explore

Each of these grants serve different purposes and have different criteria and requirements that South African individuals need to meet to receive the grant. Some of the most popular grants available for South African citizens are explained below.

Disability grants

Disability grants

Disability grant

South African citizens who have a mental or physical disability and are unable to work for six months or longer may apply for this grant. Applicants will need to undergo a medical assessment by a state represented doctor, who will then send the assessment report to SASSA.

It is important to note that only South African citizens or refugees in South Africa may apply for the grant if they are between the ages of 18 and 59, not be cared for in a state institution, possess a valid identification document, and not earn more than R86,280 if you are single or R172,560 if married.

The maximum amount that this grant pays out per month is R1,890. Please visit this link for more details on how to apply.

Care dependency grant

This grant supports individuals who take care of a child with a severe disability. Furthermore, the child must require full-time and special needs care.

The grant covers critically disabled children starting from the time the child is born until the time they reach 18 years of age. There are strict eligibility criteria, so make sure you familiarise yourself with them.

Individuals who are eligible to receive this grant will receive R1, 890 a month.

Additional financial support:

Sunshine Association

SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment

COVID-19 support grants

Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant

SASSA is the supplier of this grant, and applications can only be made online here. This grant pays R350 each month (for 6 months) to “individuals who are currently unemployed, do not receive any form of income, social grant or UIF payment” due to COVID-19 impacts. You’ll need the following documents:

  • Identity number or Department of Home Affairs Refugee permit number
  • Name and surname, gender, and any disability if applicable
  • Contact details and residential address

United Way South Africa

United Way South Africa is a non-profit organisation that assists local businesses and fellow organisations by sponsoring and funding various different community building and community upliftment projects.

The three main areas of focus are community education, health, and income. United Way provide funds and other means of assistance to local organisations making a difference. Please contact them directly to see how they can assist you.

Additional financial support:

VPUU Co-Care Vouchers

Solidarity Fund

Military veterans grants

War Veterans Grant

South African citizens or permanent residents who were former soldiers involved in either World War 2 or the Korean War may apply for this grant.

Of course, there are certain requirements you need to meet to be eligible, so make sure you read through these.

This grant pays out R1,910 per month. It usually takes up to 3 months to process applications.

Military Pensions

South African National Defence Force personnel who have been injured in battle are eligible to receive this grant. The monetary value of the grant paid depends on the level of injury or disability that an individual has, which will be assessed by a doctor.

Eligible individuals are also granted access to medical treatment and devices to treat their disability. Applications may be made at an office of the Department, or at any other place authorised by the Department.

Additional financial support:

The Inyamazane Funding Scheme

The Military Veterans Benefits Regulation

Welfare grants

Welfare grants

Child Support Grant

Individuals who may apply for this grant need to be parents of a child (primary caregivers), be a South African citizen, not earn more than R52,800 per year if you are single or R105,600 if married. There are other requirements which you’ll need to read through.

Successful applicants will be paid R460 a month per child. Find out more information here on how to apply.

Grant In Aid

Citizens who already receive a grant, but still require assistance may apply for this grant. The grant will be paid (R460) to the individual who takes full-time care of you. Eligible applicants must currently receive either an elderly grant, war veteran’s grant or disability grant. There are other requirements that you should be aware of. You can email [email protected] for more information on how to apply.

Additional financial support:

Foster Child Grant

International Social Services

Social development grants

Social Development Fund

This fund financially supports South African organisations who are committed to tackling social problems in different communities.

Mentorship and workshops are also provided to eligible organisations. To be eligible to apply, organisations must be community-focused, present sustainable benefits to the community and be gender balanced, must be more than one year old with a good track record, and commit to aligning with the area’s Community Action Plan’s priorities.

On average, this grant pays out R20,000 to R25,000. For more information on how to apply, contact the organisation.

The National Development Agency Fund

This fund supports non-profit organisations that contribute towards poverty elimination in their communities. Individuals are not eligible for this grant. Applicant processing times usually take 3 to 6 months. The amount paid by this fund depends on the type of project that requires funding. You can find more information on their grant funding process here.

Additional financial support:

Rural, Township and Community Development Fund

Relief grants

Mazda Foundation

The Mazda Foundation provides financial assistance to various organisations in different industries who need financial assistance and who are making a difference in their communities.

The amount of financial assistance that will be provided will depend on the type of project that is being undertaken by the organisation.

Additional financial support:

Ford Foundation

Domino Foundation

Elderly grants

Elderly grants

Old Age Pension

South African citizens, permanent residents, or refugees over the age of 60 may apply for this funding. The maximum amount paid per month is R1,890, and R1,910 if applicants are over the age of 75. Additionally, eligible applicants must not be cared for in a state institution, and not earn more than R86,280 a year. Apply for the pension at your nearest SASSA Office.

Elderly Care Fund

This fund assists retired police officials with various aspects of their lives. It offers different support and services free of charge to retired police officials, including counselling, wellness centres, emergency aid, and general financial wellbeing assistance.

Retired police personnel, Public Services Act personnel, their spouses, as well as their widows and widowers are eligible to apply for this fund. You can contact the organisation directly for further assistance.

Additional financial support:

Flower Foundation


Writing Your Grant Proposal

Perfecting the skill of writing business grant proposals will greatly increase your chances of securing a grant.

Grantors have hundreds of proposals that they receive daily, so developing a well-written and engaging proposal that grantors will take notice of is vital.

Writing Your Grant Proposal

Below are important steps that you can use to write a compelling grant proposal for your South African business:

  • Create a summary of what your business does, its purpose and goals, where your business is located, a brief background of your monthly/yearly performance, why your business needs funding, and what your business plans to do if the funding is received. Keep this summary short and simple.
  • Next, you can start to go into more depth about your business. Often this is labelled as the organisational overview. State factors such as when your business was founded, what products or services you sell, who your target audience is, the business’s value proposition, how many employees you have, previous successes, and future plans.
  • It is also important to include feedback from customers and customer recommendations, as well as any compliance certificates that your business may have. Grantors want to see that your business is legally complying with state laws, and that your business has a good reputation amongst general consumers.
  • Although your finances have been briefly discussed in the previous steps, it is still wise to have a section which is solely dedicated to your business’s finances.
  • Grantors want to see that your business is sustainable, and that you can successfully manage large sums of money. Include attachments such as your profit/loss statement, yearly financials, situations where you have met your budgets, financial projections, current cashflow, and other factors which will assist grantors in evaluating your current financial position. If applicable, it may be a good idea to also state any other types of funding you have recently received.
  • Once you have completed the organisational overview, it is time to compile the section of the project details. There are two important sub-sections to include within the project detail section. Firstly, the sub-section of the aims and objectives of the business project that you are seeking funding for must be established. Include details like overall goals and planned outcomes of the project, and the overall purpose of the project.
  • The second sub-section that must be included is that of the implementation plan. The implementation plan is a detailed plan of action that will be undertaken if funding is received, to ensure that the aims and objectives of the project are successfully accomplished. Include details such as a timeframe of different activities that need to be completed, the specific steps and actions that need to be taken, estimated budget, project timeline, performance management strategies, risk-mitigation strategies, and specified amounts of funding which will be spent on specific activities.
  • It is important that you state how the project’s objectives are going to be evaluated so that grantors can be assured that their money will not be wasted.
  • Explain what the benefits for the grantor are if they provide your business with a grant. Although your business will be the one benefiting the most, many grantors would also like to receive social benefits. Social benefits which grantors may be interested in are projects which build new infrastructure in rural areas, boost the economic activities of a community, or reduce unemployment rates.
  • Lastly, it is always important to review and check for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Remember, a proposal is often the first impression that grantors and funders get of a business and its owner. By ensuring that all your spelling and grammar is correct, you will be on the right path to making a professional and great first impression.
Considerations When Writing Your Proposal

Find out more: Want to know how much your business is worth? Get a free estimate valuation.

How Can Help You

Growing a business takes time, patience, and of course finances. Small business grants in particular have proven to be immense vehicles of growth for small business in South Africa looking to expand and make a difference.

While there are complex application processes for each grant, it is crucial to understand the current financial outlook of your company. You can use these insights in your proposal. To conduct a free, pragmatic valuation, you can use ValueRight .

You may not want to sell your business or consider purchasing one at this stage of your journey, but it is worth conducting research on the selling and buying process. This will ensure you have a holistic understanding if the time comes.

If your business has the potential to provide innovative offerings and implement new systems which serve the public of South Africa, you’ll likely be a great candidate for a small business grant.

We wish you every success on your journey, and feel free to contact us for any business related queries.

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