The Small Business Finance Agency (Sefa) has invested approved funding of over R1 billion, Economic Development Minster Ebrahim Patel said on Friday.
"SEFA is less than two-years old and it has already approved funding in excess of a billion to small business," said Minister Patel.
The minister was speaking at the launch of the Godisa Fund which is a R165 million partnership between Transnet, SEFA and Anglo American's Zimele. The fund will provide funding to small black-owned businesses that are, or will become, suppliers to Transnet.
The minister said government is investing roughly R200 billion a year to expand infrastructure through new capacity in transport, water, energy, ICT and social infrastructure.
"This is the moment to ensure that young entrepreneurs are given support, that we expand the base of enterprises and create new job opportunities. The R165 million Godisa Fund is one element of a number of measures now being implemented across government to expand the economy and small businesses," added Minister Patel.
He further added that government places importance on small business development.
Sefa is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and reports to the Department of Economic Development which is mandated with the fostering of the establishment, survival and growth of small and medium enterprises.
Sefa was formed on 1 April 2012 to merge the separate small business funding agencies in national government. The agency is also mandated to contribute towards poverty alleviation and job creation.
Also speaking at the launch, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said government has helped protect South Africans from abject poverty.
"Vulnerable South Africans like children and the elderly enjoy social protection in the form of free access to health care and other basic services and social grants.
"Through the decisive action of the past 20 years, particularly through the social wage, we have prevented millions of South Africans from sinking deep into abject poverty," he said, at the launch held in Pretoria.