Applying for support from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) | Western Cape Government

Applying for support from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF)


The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) promotes and facilitates black economic participation by providing financial and non-financial support to black empowered businesses, and by promoting a culture of savings and investment among black people.

What is the National Empowerment Fund?

National Empowerment FundThe NEF provides funds to black entrepreneurs and groups with the aim to facilitate 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 wants to ensure that investments create real economic empowerment for black people based on sound economic principles.

The improved operational business pillars of the NEF are:

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

What is the Philosophy of the NEF?

  • The 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 sectors.
  • The NEF will have significant input into the development of a strategy to maximise transformation in targeted areas and sectors in the economy.
  • The NEF will assist in the upliftment of rural communities through targeted offerings.
  • The NEF will act as a medium for dialogue with the private sector on their corporate and industrial strategy for transformation and BEE.
  • The NEF will act as a mediator between the private, public and empowerment sectors on transformation and BEE objectives, including enterprise development.

The NEF's funding is currently obtainable from 7 funds.

These are:

  • iMbewu Fund that supports black entrepreneurs wishing to start new businesses as well as supporting existing black-owned enterprises with expansion capital.
  • uMnotho Fund that is designed to improve access to BEE capital and has 5 products, Acquisition Finance, Project Finance, Expansion Finance, Capital Markets Fund, and Liquidity and Warehousing. 
  • Rural and Community Development Fund provides funding to aspiring rural entrepreneurs and facilitates skills transfer and operational involvement by community groups
  • Strategic Projects Fund is informed by government strategies and aims to support the government economic growth strategy.
  • Women Empowerment Fund is aimed at accelerating the provision of funding to businesses owned by black women.
  • Tourism Transformation Fund is aimed at driving transformation in the sector.
  • Arts and Culture Venture Capital Fund is designed to promote and develop the arts and culture sector by providing affordable loans to start and/or expand small businesses.

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 their products and services, please refer to the NEF website.  


Contact Information:

Western Cape Office:

Suite 2818, 28th Floor, ABSA Centre, 2 Riebeek Street, Cape Town 8001

Tel: 021 431 4760 | 0861 633 927
Fax: 0861 927 633

Head Office:

Physical Address:

187 Rivonia Road, Morningside, 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 enquiries:

Funding enquiries:

A comprehensive step-by-step guide on the funding process is available on the NEF website.

The content on this page was last updated on 18 November 2020