Coronavirus debt relief fund for SMEs launched

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Registration for a Debt Relief Fund will open on Tuesday to assist small, medium and micro businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The fund is an initiative of the Department of Small Business Development.

According to the department, they have been “inundated with enquiries” from Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) about measures to mitigate the financial impact of the virus on their businesses, amid interruptions in productivity and loss of income.

“The Debt Relief Fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments, to assist SMMEs during the period of the Covid-19 State of Disaster,” the department.

The facility will also assist entities to acquire raw materials and pay labour and other operational costs.

Business owners must demonstrate a direct link between the impact or potential impact of the pandemic on their operations in order to be eligible for assistance, according to the department.

For eligible businesses, the fund will offer working capital, stock, bridging finance, order finance and/or equipment finance, and the amount required will be based on the funding needs of each business.

Enterprises seeking assistance must register on the SMME South Africa portal at, which will open on 24 March.

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