Business Finance in South Africa

South African entrepreneurs looking to finance their business ventures through traditional lending routes will often be frustrated and discouraged. Application and approval processes usually undergo long delays and lenders expect applicants to provide good credit and collateral. Even with all this in line, small businesses aren't necessarily guaranteed loans. Banks in South Africa aren't generally open to risks, many of them having dealt with a number of small business owners who've neglected to repay their loans in the past.

To help small business owners secure financing, several nonprofits and commercial businesses offer smaller loans at higher interest rates to businesses that have a hard time raising collateral. For those who can come up with some form of collateral, governmental organizations like Khula, will guarantee a portion of the business' bank loan (but not lend directly to the business) as long as the entrepreneur provides collateral for the remaining portion.

Recently, angel investments and venture capital funds have become more viable options for business owners seeking financing. Angel investors step in at the beginning phase of business development, often providing seed capital (smaller funding amounts) for the business to operate and grow. Venture capitalists are more likely to invest money once the business is established, providing greater monetary amounts in return for shares in the business, and sometimes a role in the company, usually at the board level. After a period of three to seven years, venture capitalists usually sell their shares, either to the original owner, or to another investor. Angel investors and venture capitalists normally expect a 10 to 30 percent return on their investment.

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