Fund helps to expand business | Advertising Feature | Small Business Connect

Pictured here are Janet Graham, director of Jaydex Distribution, and Samantha Olifant, who runs construction business, Spotless Sam.

Strand-based entrepreneur Stephen Manual has been able to increase his staff complement by employing local skilled workers at his panel-beating business after receiving R50 000 from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Enterprise Development Grant Fund (EDF).

The EDF is an initiative of the department.

The initiative’s aim is to support qualifying small business owners across various sectors who struggle to grow their businesses because of a lack of finance.

Manual says the fund assisted him in buying new equipment for his company SLJ Autobody Centre.

Thanks to this assistance, he now believes he’s also become a more competitive player in the car-repair industry.

“Today, I employ 15 full-time staff, some of whom have just started out in the industry. My business faced a challenge in that I would source business, but struggled to finish repair work as I was short-staffed and I had little equipment to operate with,” he says.

After applying to the fund, he was assisted by officials at the department who helped him through the mandatory assessment processes.

On being granted the finance, he chose to install some of the latest automobile repair equipment like infra-red lights, mic and spot welders to his shop and to increase his staff complement.

“Things were very challenging before I found out about the fund through the Small Enterprise Development Agency. Now we can work through the difficult winter season with no trouble,” he says, adding that he’s now able to deliver timeously on his services.

He is now looking at expanding his business to other parts of the province.

He says he was so impressed by the fund that he has now made a second application for financial assistance and, if successful, hopes to employ even more staff by adding environmentally-friendly machinery so he can improve productivity.

Since it was was established in 2011, R3.5 million has been invested through the fund, which by last year helped to significantly contribute to job creation in the Western Cape. To benefit from funding a business must be at least 51% black-owned.

Grants up to R75 000 are available to successful applicants.

To apply, a business owner must be in possession of a valid company registration certificate and financial statements.