Business Partners, a risk financier for SMEs in South Africa and selected African countries, has approved R1.049 billion in funding through 295 investments for small and medium enterprises during the last financial year.
“Of these new investments, we are pleased to report that financial assistance to black entrepreneurs increased to 40.5% compared with 27.4% in the previous financial year, and finance assistance to female entrepreneurs improved to 37%,” said Business Partners MD, Ben Bierman.
“Placing over R1 billion into the hands of business owners has helped to save and facilitate much needed job opportunities in the South African environment, assisting in driving the economy forward. During a year when low economic growth impacted all businesses, especially SMEs, this outcome is encouraging,” he said.
The group said it also achieved growth in profit for the year. Net profit attributable to equity holders increased by 5.4%, amounting to R218.4 million. The investment portfolio grew by 7.5% to R2.956 billion.
“Another positive was the reduction in net credit losses by 5.7% to R76.3 million, in spite of the year’s tough economic environment and increased levels of credit risk,” said Bierman.
He said that there is a significant need for more innovative funding solutions and well-planned, well-executed and accurate technical assistance support for SMEs.