SAB Foundation and IDC launch Township Energy Fund to mitigate energy challenges for SMMEs

Nicky Swartz, the founder of Spoon Money. SUPPLIED.

Nicky Swartz, the founder of Spoon Money. SUPPLIED.

Published Jun 12, 2024


The SAB Foundation has partnered with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to launch and co-fund a R15 million Township Energy Fund.

This fund was launched in recognising the negative impact of loadshedding on small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and the additional costs associated with adopting alternative energy sources, the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The electricity crisis in South Africa is a major issue affecting small businesses, eroding their income and threatening their viability.

“The initiative is aimed at providing grant funding to small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises in townships, rural areas, and small towns, enabling them to implement renewable energy solutions, restabilise operations and catalyse their business growth,” they said.

The IDC has committed R10 million towards the fund, with a co-contribution of R5 million pledged by the SAB Foundation. These funds will be used towards the installation of renewable energy solutions for carefully selected alumni who have been supported over the past 10 years by the SAB Foundation’s entrepreneurial programmes.

Bridgit Evans, an executive director of the SAB Foundation, “Recently we conducted a survey amongst our entrepreneurs which revealed that 60% of businesses have experienced a reduction in production capacity due to load shedding. This not only affects their current operations, but also hampers future growth and expansion for these business owners.”

According to Evans, the fund will support businesses in high-energy-consuming sectors, such as retail, construction, hospitality, mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

Grants will range between R50 000 and R250 000, based on a needs analysis to ensure customised support for each business.

“The energy crisis has placed a significant burden on small business owners, many of whom are already struggling to keep their doors open,” says Evans. “Through the roll out of the Township Energy Fund, we aim to provide these businesses with the resources they need they need to adopt renewable energy solutions, reduce their operational costs, and focus on growth rather than survival.”

Stuart Bartlett, Programme Manager at the IDC, said, “The IDC is dedicated to enabling sustainable development and growth for South African businesses. By investing in renewable energy solutions, we are not only helping businesses to withstand load-shedding, but also to expand their operations sustainably.” - BR Reporter