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Cape Town Businesswomen looking for financial support for their businesses will have the opportunity to access funding of up to R2million.

They will put themselves in line to access this funding if they attend a seminar by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about the Isivande Women’s Fund on 23rd February 2009 at the Ritz Hotel, Greenpoint. Cape Town, South Africa.

The purpose of the seminar, one of many that have been held across the country, is to educate women entrepreneurs and existing businesswomen about the requirements for accessing the fund.

The R100million development finance fund was launched in February last year.
It came into being as a result of a study of women’s access to finance in South Africa conducted by Gender and Women Empowerment Unit of the DTI, the International Finance Corporation and FinMark in 2006.

The study found that limited access to finance for women inhibits the establishment, growth sustainability and profitability of women’s enterprises.

The study also pointed towards gender bias within existing financial institutions.
The study was followed by a series of consultative workshops on access to finance for women entrepreneurs which confirmed the need to establish an exclusive fund for women – the Isuvande Women’s Fund.

The fund provides financial support for deals requiring start-up funding, business expansions, rehabilitations, turnarounds and franchising.

The loans range from R30,000.00 to R2million per business, with a maximum loan repayment period of five years.

According to Mmabatho Matiwane, the head of Gender and Women Empowerment at the DTI, the announcement of the fund resulted in her office being inundated with enquiries from businesswomen hoping to access the much needed funding.

“The huge interest generated by the announcement of the fund confirmed that such an initiative is long overdue,” she noted.

“But it is necessary to hold these seminars in order to ensure that businesswomen fully understand how the fund operates and what the all qualifying criteria are”, says Matiwane.

She says this will help considerably speed up the process of applying for the fund and improving the turnaround time of applications.

It will also ensure that only those businesswomen who meet the pre-requisites for funding assistance submit applications for processing.

“We will be submitting application forms at the seminar and will be assisting businesswomen to complete them correctly” added Matiwane.

According to business owners, access to funding for smaller businesses is often cited as one of the top three problems inhibiting small business growth. (Big News)

Poverty and unemployment within disadvantaged communities has become a serious problem, young adult women and the youth are not immune to these social ills. Poor communities in South Africa remain vulnerable to unemployment and permanent dependence on employment just for survival.

The economic growth desired by the government shall remain a pie in the sky if women are not able to establish new enterprises and create new products and services.

The Young Feminist in Action task force team working towards Poverty Alleviation will join in the discussion.

Their interest is to forge action and advance the rights of women and social justice in their community and South Africa at large and therefore see their involvement as direct engagement to facilitate greater synergy for effective service delivery.

This is a very important seminar for them, especially as they prepare to develop more quality and sustainable projects to uplift young women entrepreneurs.

Many more women entrepreneurs are being mobilized from various sectors within communities to attend this seminar to ensure they partake in the government pie to address their needs.

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