The South African Department of Small Business Development has launched the Amavulandlela Fund, aimed at offering financial backing to disabled entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.
The Amavulandlela Fund, which is managed by the department’s Small Enterprise Funding Agency (SEFA), will consist of a ZAR24 million (US$1.75 million) loan funding component and a ZAR6 million (US$437,000) grant component.
The scheme seeks to empower people with disabilities to access business opportunities and to become active participants in the mainstream economy, and is only open to entrepreneurs with physical disabilities, companies with at least 26 per cent ownership by people with disabilities, and those that demonstrate operational and management involvement in the business.
It was launched last week by Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, who said the South African government was a “caring” one that envisaged a society where people with disabilities are accorded their full political, human, social and economic rights.
“People with disabilities can and should be active players in the mainstream economy. All barriers must be removed to enable them to access all available opportunities. We are determined to strengthen our support for small businesses that are owned and managed by people with disabilities,” Zulu said.