Small Enterprise Finance Agency

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SOC) Limited (sefa) provides financial products and services to qualifying SMMEs and Co-operatives, as defined in the National Small Business Act of 1996 and amended in 2004, through a hybrid of wholesale and direct lending channels within the following sectors:

  • Services (including retail & wholesale trades and tourism);
  • Manufacturing (including agro-processing);
  • Agriculture (specifically land reform beneficiaries and contract-farming activities);
  • Construction (small construction contractors);
  • Mining (specifically small scale miners); and
  • Green industries (renewable energy, waste and recycling management).

The agency is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC) and was founded on 1 April 2012 – in terms of Section 3 (d) of the Industrial Development Corporation Act, No. 22 of 1940 (IDC Act) – following a cabinet decision and the 2011 State of the Nation Address to merge the three agencies: Khula, the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund and the IDC’s small business funding into a single entity.

The Department of Small Business Development is sefa‘s executive authority.


sefa’s core function is to foster the establishment, development and growth of SMMEs and Co-operatives, and to contribute towards poverty alleviation, job creation and economic growth.

Our task is to provide SMMEs and Co-operatives throughout South Africa with simple access to finance in an efficient and sustainable manner, by:

  • delivering wholesale and direct lending credit facilities or products;
  • providing credit guarantees to SMMEs and Co-operatives;
  • supporting the institutional strengthening of financial intermediaries, so that they can effectively assist small and micro-enterprises and co-operatives;
  • creating strategic partnerships with a range of institutions for sustainable small, micro and co-operative enterprise development and support;
  • monitoring the effectiveness and impact of our financing, credit guarantee and capacity development activities; and
  • developing (through partnerships) innovative finance products, tools and channels, to speed up increased market participation in the provision of affordable finance.

sefa partners with businesses it assist; creating partnerships is an important element of sustainable development strategy.

It enables the agency to provide financial and business support to numerous small, medium, micro and co-operative enterprises throughout the country, either to establish new enterprises or to grow existing ones.

Small enterprises can also access sefa’s products through any of its intermediary or partnership channels such as:

  • Commercial banks
  • Co-operative financial institutions (CFIs)
  • Micro-finance intermediaries (MFIs)
  • Retail financial intermediaries (RFIs)
  • Strategic partnerships and;
  • Structured Finance Solutions (SFSs)

SMMEs and Co-operatives can get credit facilities from R500 up to R15-million when applying through any of sefa’s intermediaries or partnerships.

For direct loans of R50 000 up to R15-million, SMMEs and Co-operatives can access this through regional offices, sefa co-location offices, branches and satellite offices nationally.

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