Six months after announcing the multibillion rand fund, supported some of the country’s biggest private sector businesses, the SME Fund has revealed that it will start distributing money to small business owners in the second half of this year.

SME Fund CEO, Quinton Dicks, told Business Day that work was underway to assemble a group of experienced managers of multi-manager investments.

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“We hope to start deploying money during the second half of the year, hopefully sooner,” he was quoted saying.

Dicks left no room for doubt that the fund could be confused with a start-up development fund, saying that they were looking to support small business that could generate profit quickly and those with serious growth potential that could stimulate job creation.

“The broad mandate of the fund is to invest in businesses that are scalable and able to contribute to significant economic growth. This is not grant funding or purely social impact funding although as a consequence of contributing towards growth, there is significant social impact,” he said.

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The SME fund has identified the agricultural and manufacturing sectors as priority areas with the greatest developmental and transformational potential.

The fund will also offer small business owners mentorship programmes.

– Additional reporting by Business Day