Most business owners have come into 2019 with renewed energy and strategic plans for growth in the short, medium and long term.

Understanding where and how to access finance for these different stages of growth is the next step – and with over 420 financial products for the South African SME, each with its own requirements, this can be daunting task.

That being said, irrespective of the financier, some fundamentals will always apply. Bankability, business viability or trust and being funding ready are all critical to a successful capital raise.

Below are the basics of capitalising Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Government (B2G) type businesses.


  1. Short Term Finance (up to 6months)

Commercial banks and alternative financiers are able to finance businesses for short term cash flow requirements through purchase order financing, invoicing discounting, contract financing, trade finance (for imports and exports) and overdraft facilities.

With tender award season in full force, supply contracts needing finance can access contract finance from certain financiers and timing is everything.

Organic growth for the short term is typically through overdraft facilities, credit cards and unsecured lending based on the historical performance of your business and bank account. Visit your bank to see if you can get your overdraft increased based on your turnover.

Also keep in mind that short term finance is usually more expensive so your margins need to be able to carry the cost of finance.


  1. Medium & Long Term Finance (up to 5years)

Generally, you should have more time to plan for your medium-term financing objectives, as you prepare yourself for a sales pipeline that you expect to convert over the next 6 months to 2 years.

Financing Medium to Long Term growth is all about showing (in a verifiable way) what your future growth is looking like and being ready with your arsenal of funding for when contracts and jobs click in.

Depending on your type of business this could mean asset finance, term loans, contract finance, project finance, equity and/or government grants and incentives.

Given that you have a bit more time to plan and await approvals than for your short-term needs, you can look to commercial banks (your bank and its competitors) and development financial institutions (DFI’s) such as the IDC, NEF, SEFA and others.

DFI’s have specific mandates based on sectors and minimum/maximum values they finance – make sure you are engaging with the appropriate one for your business and that you understand the lead times and processes involved to successfully access the funding.

Grant funding and incentives are a source of finance that can be challenging to access but so rewarding. Here are the incentives we work with for medium to long term strategic growth

  1. Export Marketing and Investment Assistance – rebate of up to R600,000 per annum to exhibit South African goods in foreign markets
  2. Black Industrialist Scheme – up to R50mil rebate for manufacturing businesses which are majority black owned and managed with a minimum project size of R30mil
  3. Agro-processing Support Scheme – up to R20mil rebate for value adding processing in the agricultural sector (post farming and harvesting)
  4. Green Tourism Incentive Programme – up to R1mil rebate in financing of green technologies for SME (up to R45mil in turnover) tourism establishments
  5. Critical Infrastructure Programme – up to R50mil rebate for bulk and critical infrastructure projects in South Africa
  6. Capital Projects Feasibility Programme – up to R8mil rebate for the investment into bankable feasibility of large scale infrastructure and manufacturing projects outside of South Africa


The appropriate finance for your business growth is out there – it’s about finding it and then securing it.