Business Grants For Women In South Africa

Business Grants For Women In South Africa

The number of women joining entrepreneurship is increasing in Africa, particularly in South Africa. According to a recent study by SEDA, 40% of small businesses in South Africa are owned by women. However, the main challenge that these new women entrepreneurs tend to face is the lack of funds. This has even forced some women to opt out of entrepreneurship.

Fortunately, this is where grants come in. Grants are a sum of money issued to entrepreneurs to help them grow and expand their businesses. Grants are usually distributed by governments, trusts, foundations, or corporations. Unlike many other types of business funding, grants don’t have to be paid back by the business owner, or the business owners are not required to give up equity in exchange for a grant.

There are plenty of business grants for women in South Africa. In this article, we are going to explore some of the top business grants for women in South Africa. Let’s get started!

Business Grants for women in South Africa

  1. Business Partners Women In Business Fund

The Business Partners Women In Business Fund aims at increasing access to funds for female entrepreneurs in South Africa. It seeks to assists women with fair and equal opportunities to start, expand, and buy existing businesses. The BPWBF aims to:

  • Increase access to funds for women entrepreneurs
  • Invest in viable female-owned businesses
  • Assist in the growth and expansion of female-owned businesses
  • Contribute towards the increase in the number of successful female-owned businesses in South Africa.
  • Promote job creation and reduce unemployment as well as poverty in South Africa.

To be eligible for the Business Partners Women In Business Fund, the women-owned businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Women entrepreneurs who wish to start, expand, or buy an existing business
  • Business with over 50% women shareholding

Women who want to apply for funds from the BPWBF must submit their business plan to any of the Fund advisors or send their business plan to

  1. Isivande Women’s Fund [IWF]

The government partnered with Old Mutual’s Masisizane in 2018 and set up the R 100 million Isivande Women’s Fund. The Fund invests directly in female-owned businesses by offering loans at lower interest rates. This fund also offers non-financial support that can help these women grow and expand their businesses. IWF aims to reduce poverty among female entrepreneurs who are generally faced with the challenge of accessing funds to promote the growth of their business.

How to apply for Isivande Women Funding

To qualify for IWF funding, the female-owned enterprises:

  • Must be operational for at least six months
  • Must be requiring earl stage capital for growth and expansion
  • Must be 50% plus one share owned and managed by women
  • The business must need potential growth

It is worth mentioning that any business is eligible for the funding as long as it is female-owned. If you want to apply for the IWF, you can download the application forms from

  1. The Identity Development Funding [IDF] Managers Funding

The IDF is one of the top institutions that offer financial and non-financial support to blacks. It seeks to unlock value in entrepreneurship through management services for corporate and institutional investors.

Businesses need to meet the following requirements to be eligible for the IDF Managers Funding:

  • Black-owned and managed business
  • Female-owned and managed business

The IDF Managers Funding generally focuses on sectors, such as manufacturing, wholesale, retail, ICT, tourism, construction, and many other industries.

  1. The National Empowerment Fund [NEF]

The National Empowerment Fund is a government agency that seeks to provide capital for black economic participation. The NEF was established by the National Empowerment Fund Act, 1998. This fund provides both financial and non-financial support for black empowered enterprises and promote a saving culture among black people.

While the National Empowerment Fund is not solely focused on women entrepreneurs, it does cater to black women, and it aims to empower them to become entrepreneurs. It provides business funds from R250, 000 to R 75 million across all sectors, for both startups as well as expansion purposes.

It is worth noting that the NEF targets BEE candidates and may not be available for other candidates. Whether your enterprise is existing or a start-up, applicants must fill in an application form once they understand the Funds requirements and figured out the products that suit them. After that, the applicants will have to create a comprehensive business plan.

Wrapping up

One of the best things that have ever happened to female entrepreneurs is the easily accessed business grants. Through these grants, women can start a business and expand it. As mentioned above, the main challenge women face when it comes to starting and running a business is the lack of funds. But if they are able to access these funds as well as non-financial support, then they have everything it takes to make their business grow.