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Technical Assistance Programme for SMEs

In recognition of the unique challenges facing SMEs, BUSINESS/PARTNERS, together with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), have introduced a Technical Assistance Programme, specifically for BUSINESS/PARTNERS clients, offering funding for such assistance at a zero interest rate.

​Mentors

The consultants and mentors participating in the programme are carefully selected individuals who have proved themselves successful in their business and careers, and who support the endeavours of our Consulting and Mentorship Services to provide a service of a high standard and quality.

These consultants and mentors are prepared to make time available to assist entrepreneurs to improve the efficiency, profitability and growth of their businesses. All consultants and mentors subscribe to our code of ethics which will ensure that the principles of integrity, good faith, confidentiality, impartiality, incorruptibility, accountability and professional conduct, will be adhered to at all times.

Services offered

The Technical Assistance Programme provides value-added services for you, the entrepreneur (business owner) in different aspects of your business ranging from accounting support, problem solving, marketing plans, and health and safety strategies to turnaround solutions. This added value service is available in all provinces and is supported by our company's national infrastructure and computerised database for our clients – both new and existing.

Services include:
  
Description
  

This covers advice and assistance with basic and practical functions, coaching, problem diagnosis, customised solutions and implementation assistance. E.g. allowing a seasoned mentor or skilled consultant to review your business performance in order to maximise on opportunities or resolve problems.

  

This includes specialised assistance with specific management functions such as budgeting, marketing, credit control, cash flow management, accounting and taxation. It may include improving business performance through ISO certification or even HACCP compliance for those businesses exporting products abroad.

  

This is industry specific assistance involving support with expertise in the sector, e.g. manufacturing, hospitality, transport or construction.

  

This is for business owners experiencing difficulty in their businesses and assistance would be for turning the business around to profitability, usually through a mentor or independent consultant.

  

Assistance provided involves training staff in the business, either through group or one-on-one sessions with the view to enhancing capacity. E.g. training for optimum use of plant and equipment, maximising efficiency or even specific software programme training.

  
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​Criteria

Technical assistance funding is available only to existing and new BUSINESS/PARTNERS clients, and is coupled to the finance deal, repayable over the term of the said finance deal. The Technical assistance funding may not exceed 30% of the original finance received from BUSINESS/PARTNERS.

Note: If you are not a BUSINESS/PARTNERS client, click here for alternative forms of support.

​Stages in your application process

Your application for technical assistance will follow these steps:

  
Description
  

Applying for technical assistance can be done in two ways. Either as part of your finance application, where you and the member of our investment team assisting with the process identify the need for technical assistance services and include the application along with your finance application OR if you already are a client, you are able to submit a separate application to the investment team member managing your portfolio.​

  

Once your technical assistance application is duly assessed and approved, we will present you with a choice of appropriate mentors, or service providers, from which you may make a final selection.​

  

Once you have selected a mentor or service provider, BUSINESS/PARTNERS will prepare and submit a comprehensive Terms of Reference to them. The mentor or service provider will in turn meet with you to confirm the Terms of Reference and to finalise the time-frame, costs and related matters.​

  

If all parties reach an agreement, you will enter into a contractual agreement with BUSINESS/PARTNERS.​

  

After the technical assistance has run its course and the business intervention is complete, the mentor or service provider is required to submit a payment form to BUSINESS/PARTNERS. In order for this form to be submitted your signature is required to acknowledge the assignment was completed to your satisfaction. We will then settle the payment with the mentor or service provider.​

  

Once the process is complete and the mentor or service provider has been paid by BUSINESS/PARTNERS, you will then be required to start repaying the technical assistance loan under the terms and conditions mentioned in step 4.​

​Application Process

The Technical Assistance Programme complements our investment and financing efforts and as such the application request will be assessed as part of the finance deal. Enquiries can be made to the investment team reviewing your application and/or managing your portfolio, or alternatively email enquiries@businesspartners.co.za, or call 0861 SMEFIN (0861 763 346).