Application for Support from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF)

This service describes the functions of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and how to access their spectrum of services. It is particularly relevant for the start-up business person; however, there are also very useful services for large corporates.

What is the National Empowerment Fund?

The NEF was established by the National Empowerment Fund Act of 1998 to promote and facilitate economic equality and transformation.

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) was relaunched in May 2004 by the Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa to re-focus and refresh these efforts.

The NEF Trust operates under the umbrella of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and is governed by a board of trustees under the Chairmanship of the director-general of the dti.

Find out more about its history on the website.

Its main objective is to become a catalyst in facilitating economic equality and transformation, thereby maximising the empowerment dividend.

The passing of the broad based empowerment charter, government policy and other sectoral charters; and a deeper understanding of the current market needs led to the new mandate which resulted in the enhanced operational business pillars of the NEF. These are:

  • Advisory Services, which will oversee the consistent standardisation and application of the charters across the government and private sectors.
  • Corporate Transformation Services, which will sustain transformation targeted at corporate and regional levels on a specific basis determined by national importance.
  • Market Making Services, which will play a catalytic role in facilitating BEE investment opportunities that will ensure ownership sustainability and transformation within the HDP sector.
  • Group and Entrepreneurial Schemes, enterprise development and synergistic partnership formation to leverage offerings.

What is the Philosophy of the NEF?

  • NEF looks to finance BEE groups who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and add value to the transactions by maximising transformation.
  • The focus is on regional and community development to energise enterprise growth.
  • The NEF will also provide a BEE advisory service to both Government and the private sector to enable consistent charter application across all sectors.
  • NEF will have significant input into the development of strategy to maximise transformation in targeted areas and sectors in the economy.
  • NEF will assist rural communities in uplifting themselves through targeted offerings.
  • NEF will act as a medium for dialogue with the private sector on their corporate and industrial strategy for transformation and BEE.
  • NEF will act as mediator between the private, public and empowerment sectors on transformation and BEE objectives including enterprise development.

How Do I Apply for Funding?

The NEF's funding activities are currently focused under Entrepreneur Support, which exists in the Group and Entrepreneurial Schemes division (GES). This offering provides acquisition and enterprise finance to support historically disadvantaged South African entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur Support provides equity and debt funding in accordance with venture capital principles, within a development context.

To access products under GES, a funding application process is initiated by the completion of a screening application form that tests for the eligibility criteria and commercial viability. For more information on these criteria and assistance on our products and services, please refer to our website address:

For more information:

Physical Address:
187 Rivonia road, Morning Side, Sandton 2076

Post Address:
P O Box 31,Melrose Arch,Melrose North,2076

The dti call centre: 0861 843 384
Tel: 011 305 8000
Fax:011 305 8001
General equiries e-mail:
Funding enquiries e-mail:

The website has a comprehensive step-by-step guide on the funding process, access it here.

Provided by:
Government Body: (Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 28 August 2013