Where and how to apply for funding is one of the hardest challenges facing the tourism industry. Tourism Update explores various ways to apply for financing. 



First National Bank 

Personal Loan 

First National Bank offers a personal loan for applicants to use the money as they please. With this loan you get credit up to R150 000, with flexible repayment terms up to 60 months.  

For more information to apply, click here.


Vumela, a loan offered by First National Bank, provides SMEs with appropriate finance, as well as a fitting strategic and operational support where the SME would not normally have access to it. Vumela aims to unlock each SME’s potential and help them grow.  

Vumela is best suited to SMEs that are too large for microfinance yet too small for private equity, and those that do not meet traditional credit criteria in terms of collateral and balance sheet requirements.  

For more information, click here.

Business Loans  

Business loans are also offered by First National Bank. These loans are best suited to those looking for a capital injection, to grow or expand their current business, to acquire assets, additional business opportunities, or finance other business-related expenditure over the medium term.   

This loan offers flexible terms, from three to five years, with a minimum loan amount of R2 000, with optional loan security, meaning one will not be required to provide security for loans of up to R400 000. 

To apply, click here


Standard Bank 

Business Term Loan  

Standard Bank offers a variety of business loans, one being the business term loan for those wanting to access funds to purchase longer-term asset or finance.  

This may suit one’s business if one wants to acquire capital for business growth, asset acquisition, and finance business expansion. The minimum loan amount is R50 000 and maximum is calculated by one’s ability to repay instalments.  

For more information, click here.

Angel Investors  

Angel Investors is more willing to take chances and invest smaller amounts in high-risk businesses, with the intention of gaining high returns within a set period (5-10 years). Angel investors are wealthy individuals who use their funds to finance projects they believe are viable. This particular type of investor breaches the gap in start-up financing between friends and family, and large venture capital investment. This type of funding opportunity is generally a common second-round of financing for high-growth start-ups.  

For more information click here.



Absa has a few options for an SME to choose from – Enterprise and Supply Chain Finance, Absa Development Credit Fund, Absa Women Empowerment Fund, Absa SME Fund and Thembani International Guarantee Fund.  

Enterprise and Supply Chain Finance  

This fund is designed to meet SMEs’ working capital, commercial asset and expansion finance needs.  

One may be eligible for funding if participating in an Enterprise and Supplier Development Programme with a corporate government entity, with the ability to demonstrate affordability for the loan from the cash flows arising from the contract with the corporate or government entity.  

Absa Development Credit Fund 

This fund is purely aimed at SMEs that do not qualify for a conventional business loan. This loan is subject to the business’s ability to repay the loan.  

The loan amount ranges from R50 000 to R3 million.  

To find out more about this loan, and download application documents, click here.  

Absa Women Empowerment Fund  

This fund loan amount is also between R50 000 and R3 million, and is subject to 70% of the loan being paid to your suppliers, with Absa developing the structure payment of the loan directly to suppliers. Interest rate is linked to the prime lending rate and will be structured according to the lending risk.  

To find out more, click here

Absa SME Fund  

The Absa SME Fund is available only for SMEs that are 100% black-owned, and have been awarded a government contract or tender.  

To apply for this fund, please click here.  

Thembani International Guarantee Fund 

The Thembani International Guarantee Fund is aimed at SMEs that are 51% black owned, operating in South Africa, a Southern African country, and/or countries where Absa has operations.  

This fund offers finance between R50 000 and R10 million. The preferred term of loan is a maximum of five years.

For more information, click here.



Nedbank has devoted an entire department to SMEs called Small Business Services, offering various loans.  

Start-up Loan 

Nedbank offers funding for when a business is just starting out, offering capital to SMEs. The loan is a special offer tailored to address small business needs, and is available to new traditional and franchise businesses that have been operating for less than two years.  

Minimum loan amount starts at R100 000.  

For more information, email Nedbank’s Small Business Services department at smallbusinessservices@nedbank.co.za.  

Business Growth Loan 

A Nedbank Business Growth Loan offers small business owners a structured loan with a term of up to ten years which is guaranteed if a form of acceptable security is provided. The loan is tax deductible.  

For more information, click here.


Government grants 

National Department of Tourism  

Tourism Support Programme (TSP) 

The Tourism Support Programme is a reimbursable cash grant incentive scheme, which aims to support the development of tourism enterprises that will aid in job creation and increase geographic spread of tourism investment. TSP is a targeted incentive scheme. 

Grant amounts start upwards of 30% towards investment costs for establishing and expanding existing operations, such as tour operators, cultural services, passenger transport services, accommodation services, entertainment and recreational services. 

Applicants must be a registered legal entity in terms of the Acts guiding a Co-operative, Trust, Company, or a Close Corporation.  

The programmer targets small investment projects, those which are valued at R5 million and below.  

For more information click here.

Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP) 

The Tourism Incentive Programme aims to drive sales and grow the customer base of small tourism establishments by providing them with better access to tourism buyers, as well as potential guests.  

For queries, email: tipenquiries@tourism.gov.za  


The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) 

Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA)  

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency was established on April 1, 2012. Sefa finances various SMEs, with tourism as one of their focuses. Sefa offers various types of loans for SMEs and co-operatives as defined in the National Small Business Act of 1996, amended in 2004.  

Sefa has the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme, which is targeted at SMEs that have at least 50+1% disability ownership.  

The Bridging

This is a short-term loan that is provided to a business in order to finance working capital needs.

For more information, click here.

The Term

Loan is one with a specific amount, with a specified repayment schedule, and a fixed or floating fixed rate. This loan is used to finance assets that have a medium- to long-term lifespan. The Term Loan is usually repayable between one and five years.  


Department of Small Business Development 

Economic funding is provided by the Department of Small Business Development to promote and develop small businesses and cooperatives.

The Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)

The BBSDP is a cost-sharing grant offered to small black-owned enterprises to assist them in improving their competitiveness and sustainability. This helps the business owners to become part of the mainstream economy and create employment. The grant provides a maximum of R1 million, broken down into R800 000 for tools, machinery and equipment on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis, R200 000 for business development and training interventions on an 80:20 cost-sharing basis.

For more information, click here.

Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS)

The Co-operative Incentive Scheme is a 100% grant for registered primary co-operatives. The objective of the CIS is to improve viability and competitiveness of co-operative enterprises by lowering their cost of doing business through an incentive that supports Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. The maximum offered by this grant is R350 000.

For more information, click here


Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 

There are various grants and programmes offered by the Department of Trade and Industry which aim to generate employment; entrepreneurship; empowerment; the utilisation of local raw materials; promote sustainability using incentives and to reduce investment cost for small and medium investors.  

For more information from the DTI click here.

Seda Technology Programme (STP)

The STP provides a maximum grant of R1 million. Of this R1 million, R800 000 must be used for equipment, with 35% contributed by the DTI. The remainder of the sum, R200 000 is used in a business development programme on a 50:50 basis.

For more information, click here.

The Strategic Partnership Programme (SPP) 

The objective of SPP is to encourage large private-sector enterprises in partnership with Government support, nurture and develop SMEs within the sector applicable. SPP is available on a cost-sharing basis between the strategic partner(s) and Government.  

Grant approval is based on projections for the first year at application stage, and approval for the following years will depend on the review of actual performance of the preceding year against agreed milestones. The approval is capped at R15 million, which is VAT inclusive per financial year over a three-year period.  

For more information contact Minah SihlanguMSihlangu@thedti.gov.za or click here.

Critical Infrastructure Programme

This programme covers the development cost from 10% up to 30% towards the improvement of critical infrastructure, with a maximum amount of R30 million.

For more information, click here.


This loan funding provides BEE SMEs that are incorporated and working within South Africa. Funding offered ranges between R10 000 and R3 million. SIZWE/FABCOST contributes 90% and the remaining 10% is the entity’s contribution, payable over five years at a rate of +3%.

For more information, click here.

Business Partners

Loans and equity investment are available to the public on request and tested products. Business Partners has two options available. They obtain a shareholding and retain it for a period of five years, while participating in shareholder and director meetings. Business Partners also offer guidance in management. During these five years, if surplus cash is available they advise to pay the other shareholder’s loan. After these five years, they will either sell to a third party, or to an existing shareholder. This option is normally a loan, which they provide as a term loan, over a period of five years. Loans range from R500 000 to R10 million.

For more information, click here.


Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Western Cape Government) 

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism aims to create an innovative and sustainable economy, characterised by growth, employment and equitable opportunities.   

The Enterprise Development Fund 

The Enterprise Development Fund is an initiative between the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), which is aimed at supporting qualifying SMEs, as well as co-operatives in the Western Cape, to develop SMEs' operational and financial capabilities. 

Financial assistance is available, ranging between R250 000 and R75 000 000.  

For more information, contact Peter-Jon Thebus at 021 483 9026, or email Peter-Jon.Thebus@westerncape.gov.za.

Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas (CASIDRA) 

CASIDRA is an organisation that promotes rural development in the Western Cape, managing the Ikapa Absa Entrepreneurial programme, which is co-funded by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and Absa.  

Offering business loans for rural development from R10 000 to R160 000, the loans are repayable over three years at a fixed interest rate of 10%.  

A comprehensive list of requirements and application forms are available at CASIDRA offices in Paarl.  

For more information, click here


Cape Town Tourism 

The Cape Town Tourism Board established The Board Development Fund Programme to assist SMEs in the growth of their businesses. The chosen businesses each receive R50 000, as well as non-financial support by Cape Town Tourism through mentoring and complimentary membership. 

The programme will run until December 31, 2017.  

For more information, click here.


Gauteng Tourism Authority 

The Tourism Development Fund, which is administered by the Gauteng Tourism Authority, provides funding to develop and empower previously disadvantaged communities within the industry. In order to apply, businesses must be based in Gauteng and contribute towards the empowerment of Non-Governmental Organisations, or Community Based Structures. Funding will be available, provided project management costs do not exceed 7-10% of their total costs.

For more information, call: (011) 340 9000


Ithala Development Finance Corporation 

IThala Development Finance Corporation is one of KwaZulu Natal’s primary drivers of economic development, and a strategic enabler of support for disadvantaged communities. Ithala offers up to 60% of the value or cost of the equipment, building financing for a redemption period of three to 10 years, with working capital loans that do not exceed five years.

For more information call +27 (0)31 366 2500


Northern Cape CISP/DEAT Scheme 

The Northern Cape Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism provides financial support to businesses located in the Northern Cape, aiming to promote SME development. The purpose of this scheme is to bridge the gap between the need to develop the micro business sector and the lack of viable services and training opportunities for micro and small entrepreneurs. This scheme offers loans from R1 000 up to R20 000.

For more information, email cisp@met.ncape.gov.za.


Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC)  

ECDC’s Business Finance Unit offers new and existing businesses the opportunity to be part of the burgeoning tourism sector in the Eastern Cape. Financing is available in the form of a loan or structured finance, ranging from R100 000 to R3 million. Applicants have to be based in the province, with a comprehensive business plan, as well as proof of management capability within the industry.

For more information click here.


Financial Institutions  



ProServ is a professional services company that offers high-quality, sustainable skills development solutions in Southern Africa, aiming to build capabilities of those in the area. ProServ is funded by various government initiatives to implement development programmes for unemployed learners, and to assist organisations in incorporating unemployed learners into their businesses. Training provided by ProServ and stipend funds up to R2 000 per learner per month.

For more information, click here.


Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) 

IDC, through its Tourism Strategic Business Unit (SBU) aims to help facilitate job creation in both local economies and the rest of Africa. The Tourism SBU mainly invests in the accommodation sub-sector, focusing on business hotels that are in fast growing areas. The focus on investments in South Africa, are on those that are high impact, sustainable, and tourist attractions that provide niche offerings. 

IDC offers loans of over R1 million that do not exceed R1 billion.  

To apply for a loan from IDC, one must provide a comprehensive marketing study, financial forecasts, zoning for the property, approved building plans, and an Environmental Impact Assessment.  

For more information, click here.


National Empowerment Fund (NEF) 

The NEF offers various forms of funding for businesses.

For more information, click here.

iMbewu Fund

The iMbewu Fund is designed to support black entrepreneurs wanting to start a new business or expand an existing one. The fund offers quasi-entity, debt and equity finance ranging from R250 000 up to R10 million.

uMnotho Fund

This fund is designed to improve access to BEE capital, with the following products: Acquisition finance, project finance, expansion finance, capital markets fund and liquidity and warehousing. The fund ranges from R2 million up to R50 million.

For more information, click here.

Rural and Community Development Fund

This fund was designed to promote sustainable change in social and economic relations, supporting the goals of growth and development in rural areas. Funding threshold ranges from R1 million to R50 million.

For more information, click here.


Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa)                                                                                                 

Sefa offers a variety of loans, starting at R50 000 to R5 million. To qualify for funding from Sefa, the business must be owner-managed and involved in the day-to-day running of the business. The business must be located in SA and the main shareholder has to be an SA citizen. The applicant must also show a level of personal contribution, as well as display job creation potential.

For more information, click here.


Anglo American 

The Anglo American Sebenza Fund provides loan funding to new SMEs, as well as existing SMEs that want to start or expand their operation. The fund also provides post-funding business support services to the entrepreneur as well as to his/her employees in the form of training, mentorship and skills development. The maximum repayment rate is five years at a competitive interest rate.

For more information, click here.


Business Partners  

Business Partners provides SME lending solutions, structuring individualised financing solutions using shareholder loans, equity, royalties and term loans. The fund offers financing from R500 000 to R20 million in all sectors, provided gross assets do not exceed R100 million and annual turnover is not above R200 million, and/or employees are fewer than 500.

For more information, click here.


National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) 

The purpose of the NYDA Grant Programme is to equip young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to access financial and non-financial business development support. Young entrepreneurs interested in accessing the grant will have to participate in the NYDA mentorship and voucher programme for a minimum of two years. To qualify for the grant one must be between the ages of 18 and 35 and require no less than R1 000, and no more than R100 000. 

For more information, call 0800 52 52 52, or click here.


Industrial Development Corporation  

The Industrial Development Corporation fund offers financing to businesses involved in manufacturing, ICT, tourism, media and motion, agri-processing, mining and minerals. The minimum amount available is R1 million to applicants.

For more information, click here.


Identity Development Fund (IDF) 

IDF offers loans from R20 000 to R3 million for up to five years to those in the tourism industry. IDF can also assist in supplying working capital and sales-backed finance, as well as invoice and purchase order financing, and short-term loans for a period of 12 months.

For more information, click here.