““As this unprecedented situation continues to develop, the safety of employees, mentors, SME clients and partners remains a high priority””


Mark Frankel, Black Umbrellas CEO

COVID-19 SME Funding


Central Support Office


011 592 6401




021 447 7156


JOHANNESBURG | 010 590 5555


CAPE TOWN | 021 447 7156


DURBAN | 031 327 3200


PRETORIA | 012 342 5678


PORT ELIZABETH | 041 501 3400


RICHARDS BAY | 035 901 8760


MOOINOOI | 011 100 1738


LEPHALALE | 014 763 1820


SOWETO | 010 060 4410



Our Hotline is available

24 Hours a day







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About COVID-19

Following the declaration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as a global pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster in South Africa on 15 March and announced a national lockdown on 23 March. These involve a number of measures to control the spread of the virus and ensure that the severity of its impact is managed.


“As this unprecedented situation continues to develop, the safety of employees, mentors, SME clients and partners remains a high priority” notes Mark Frankel, Black Umbrellas CEO. In this regard all nine of Black Umbrellas’ incubators are closed during the lockdown period and all employees are working from home and complying with the necessary requirements and regulations.

BU Relief Fund Webinars

Black Umbrellas team hosts a free relief fund workshop every Tuesday with stakeholders from organisations such as SEFA, SEDA, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, NYDA, Department of Tourism, Spartan, Schoeman Law Inc. and national major banks.


During each workshop, entrepreneurs are provided with valuable insights on the support available and compliance requirements from government initiatives as well as the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Click here to view.

From the BU CEO’s desk

The spread of COVID-19 is developing rapidly, leaving many small business owners uncertain about their future. Challenges such as access to markets, supply chain and financial stability remain a common concern for most entrepreneurs.


Black Umbrellas CEO, Mark Frankel shares thoughts on challenges faced, inspirational quotes as well as the importance of resilience during COVID-19 and national lockdown regulations.


Click to read more:


Issue 1 - COVID-19 and actions to embrace

Issue 2 - Learning from inspirational figures

Issue 3 - Keeping active

Issue 4 - A recap of the President’s speech

Issue 5 - Physical activity matters in communications

Issue 6 - Mindfulness

Issue 7 – The art of resilience

BU Relief Programme

Coming soon...

  • Department of Small Business Development

    Debit Relief Fund

    Established specifically to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are in distress due to the impact or potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are approved, it has been indicated that you will be given a payment holiday and have your loans restructured. Relief could also be in the form of rent relief or payroll relief. How this will look exactly, is still to be confirmed by The Department.


    Spaza Shop Support Scheme


    The Department has finalized the details of a dedicated Spaza Shop Support Scheme of R500 million.  Spaza Shop Scheme provides:


    • Dedicated access to networking purchasing or bulk buying opportunities through pre-selected and pre-approved wholesalers. These will include buying a pre-approved basket of goods that includes produce procured from SMMEs. What this means is: you will be made to buy from a pre-approved basket of goods – goods included to support other SMMEs supported by The Department and its agencies, as well as SMMEs that have certification for their products
    • A credit facility with seed capital to assist those unable to access money to purchase stock. There is an intention of continuing this post COVID-19 crisis.


    Registration and/or Applications:


  • Department of Agriculture: Small scale farmer relief

    Aimed at assisting you with covering operational expenses, this funding will not be used to assist you with: debt repayment obligations or other mechanisation, infrastructure, and other overhead expenses.


    Application forms can be accessed on the department’s website www.dalrrd.gov.za, and through national, provincial, district and local offices of both the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development and Provincial Departments of Agriculture. Applications can also be lodged electronically at applications@dalrrd.gov.za or submitted to the offices as outlined. No late applications will be accepted.


    Registration and/or Applications:


  • Department of Tourism

    The Department of Tourism has made an additional R200 million available to assist SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the new travel restrictions.


    Eligible SMEs will need to meet the following criteria – your business must:


    • be formally registered with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)
    • not make more than R2.5 million in revenue per year


    Registration and/or Applications:


  • National Treasury COVID-19 Guarantee Loan Scheme

    As part of the R500BN fiscal stimulus package, The National Treasury, South African Reserve Bank, and commercial banks have jointly created a guarantee loan scheme.

    R200BN will be made available for new loans to existing customers, with R100BN initially being made available.


  • Small Enterprise Finance Agency

    For existing SEFA clients: The Department of Small Business Development is also planning to give distressed SMEs already funded by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (a state-owned entity and subsidiary of the IDC), a six-month payment holiday on loans and associated interest accrued.


    For new application to SEFA: Online application forms are available. On this platform, applications will automatically be redirected to the correct fund. However, in the meantime, the follow websites will be accepting manual applications. The department appeals to SMMEs to please only apply once to the most relevant fund, in order to avoid congesting the system.


  • Commercial Banks Support

    Private Sector Initiatives

    ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank have announced relief measures for personal and business customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown.


    Registration and/or Applications:





  • Spartan

    Private Sector Initiatives

    Spartan is funding:


    • Pre-existing businesses, with pre-existing products/services that will enjoy a boost now and sustain it beyond – due to a sustained change in buyer behaviours
    • Pre-existing businesses, with pre-existing products/services that are currently deemed Essential or Critical
    • Pre-existing businesses, with pivoted products/services that becomes Essential or Critical now and/or beyond
    • Any business that, as a result of its network or resources, is able to facilitate the supply of critical medical/healthcare products for patients, medical staff & general public’’


    Please note: Spartan do not finance amounts under R500k


    Registration and/or Applications:


Find out more, contact us

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