Business Partners announced on Sunday evening, that they are the official administrator of the donation by the Rupert family of R1-billion to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s #21daylockdown. And that they will be ready to take applications from small businesses by the end of the week.

This announcement follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s acknowledgement during his 21-day lockdown speech that the Rupert and Oppenheimer family were donating R1- billion each to assist small businesses who have been disrupted by the pandemic.

“Our aim is to mitigate the immediate economic impact of this pandemic, by keeping companies in business and protecting jobs, in order to fast-track our economic recovery. We will do this by providing direct financial assistance to employees who are at risk of losing their jobs, or have suffered a loss of income, because of Covid-19.” – the Oppenheimer family

Ben Bierman, Business Partners’ managing director said “We can confirm that Business Partners, one of Africa’s leading risk finance companies for SMEs, has been selected as the administrator of the R1-billion funding and are truly honoured to have been provided the opportunity to serve our country in this manner”

Business Partners has experience managing and disbursing funds on scale, having financed over 71 000 SME transactions over its 39 years in operation.

It has previously managed funds for the South African government as well as international development finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

By this week, the company will announce the criteria and the terms; this includes how businesses apply and repayments.

Through the funding made possible by the Rupert family and Remgro Limited, together with other initiatives implemented by both the public and private sector in South Africa, affected businesses may be sustained and jobs saved.

It has not yet been confirmed who will administer the Oppenheimer family donation of R1-billion, while the Motsepe Foundation and partners – including Sanlam and African Rainbow Minerals – have now also collectively pledged R1-billion to support individuals, communities and small businesses affected by the pandemic.