How to Apply for NEF Funding

How to Apply for NEF Funding

How to Apply for NEF Funding. The National Empowerment Fund provides funds to South Africa black entrepreneurs and groups with the aim of facilitating access to finance in support of Broad-Based BEE in terms of government legislation. The investment activities of the NEF are guided by an investment policy that seeks to ensure that investments create real economic empowerment for black people without deviating from sound economic principles.

Each application for funding is assessed in terms of the following criteria:

  • Commercial viability of the business case being presented
  • The business must comply with all relevant laws and regulations
  • There must be operational involvement at the managerial and board levels by black people
  • Minimum percentage of black ownership or interest of 50.1% is a requirement
  • The business must be able to repay NEF funding
  • The business must create a reasonable number of jobs
  • Geographic location of the business is also important with the focus on rural or economically depressed areas encouraged
  • Meaningful black women participation is viewed more favourably
  • Rural and Community Development Projects must have meaningful participation by communities
  • Possibility of co-funding with private or public sector institutions is encouraged in larger projects.

NEF fund is currently obtainable from the following funds

Alternative Energy Solutions Funding

As South Africa strives to reduce the impact of loadshedding, the dtic and the NEF have established the Alternative Energy Fund to help black business install green energy solutions.

Women Empowerment Fund

The NEF Women Empowerment Fund is aimed at accelerating the provision of funding to businesses owned by black women.

iMbewu Fund

This Fund is designed to support black entrepreneurs wishing to start new businesses as well support existing black-owned enterprises with expansion capital.

uMnotho Fund

This Fund is designed to improve access to BEE capital and has five products: Acquisition Finance, Project Finance, Expansion Finance, Capital Markets Fund, and Liquidity and Warehousing.

Rural, Township & Community Development Fund

Rural, Township, and Community Development Fund was designed to promote sustainable change in social and economic relations and support the goals of growth and development in the rural economy, through financing of sustainable enterprises.

Strategic Projects Fund

SPF’s sector focus is informed by the government’s strategies on industrial development through the dtic’s National Industrial Policy Framework, the corresponding Industrial Policy Action Plans [IPAP] as well as the current government economic growth strategy, the New Growth Path.

Arts & Culture Venture Capital Fund

The Venture Capital Fund for the Arts and Culture was designed to promote and develop the arts and culture sector by providing affordable loans to start and/or expand small businesses.

Tourism Transformation Fund

The Fund aims to drive transformation in the tourism sector in a more direct and impactful manner that will not only assist black-owned tourism enterprises to expand and grow, but also catalyse the rise of a new generation of black owned youth, women and community owned tourism enterprises to take the tourism sector to new heights.

Please note that NEF does not charge a fee for applications.

Completing the NEF Application form

Having read and understood how the NEF is structured to assist black entrepreneurs and businesses, the next logical step is to do a self-needs analysis to see how the NEF is able to assist you and your business needs.

To engage them is as simple as taking the first step of filling in an application form that will present your business case for assessment based on the criteria described above.

Your proposal needs to contain comprehensive information to support the commercial viability and the financial position of your business. A business plan guideline has been provided on the application form, to highlight the various topics you need to cover when making your submission.

Once your application has been received it will be entered into a deal-flow pipeline when it has fulfilled the mandatory requirements and it will go through various processes, summarised by the diagram on the left hand side, towards final approval and disbursement of the funds.


Please provide us with the applicable documents as outlined below;


  • Regrettably, if you do not submit all of these documents together there will be a delay in processing your application form.
  • From receipt of the application to approval stage the process can take 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Our process period is 3 to 4 months on receipt of the application up to  disbursement stage.


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