The rural populations of South Africa have proven to be key agents for achieving the transformational economic,environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. Empowering has been identified as key not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic productivity.

The above described success however can only be achieved by promoting sustainable change in social and economic relations and supporting the goals of growth and development in the rural economy,through financing of sustainable enterprises.This would be achieved through the mobilisation of rural communities in legal entities or cooperatives, in order to participate in the broader economic activities and realise the economic transformation goals. Rural and Community Development Fund seeks to do this.

Sectors funded by this noble fund include agro-processing and manufacturing, eco-tourism, forestly and fisheries, commercial property, aqua and marine culture as well as non-farm activities which should be rural based.

The requirements to qualify for this fund include the fact that projects must be financially sustainable, BEE applicants should be actively involved in the day to day operations of the business, technical partners should be actively involved in the day to day operations of the business, minimum black ownership of 25.1% is a requirement, there should be joint ventures between black and non-black partners to support skills transfer, the business should be able to repay NEF’s investment, the business must have a clear value add with a sustainable business case and the NEF will exit from the investment in 5 to 10 years. It is important for would be applicants to know beforehand that the NEF reserves the right to oblige applicants to participate in the NEF mentorship programme.

To access this fund, contact can be made on 0113058000.