Debt relief Finance Scheme For SMME’s

SMME debt relief offered by the Department of Small Business


This is the primary mechanism through which most small businesses (SMME's) are currently requesting Covid-19 related relief funding. It is the least restricted general SMME government funding mechanism - other funding mechanism are specific to businesses dealing in Covid-19 specific critical and essential goods and/or are restricted to businesses falling within the ambit of government economic transformation. The application processes for private funding mechanisms, such as donations made by the Rupert's and Oppenheimer's, has not been finalized as at 5 April, but will likely 'go live' within the week.

The SMME debt relief scheme has a very limited budget of R500 million. It is our hope that more government money will be channeled into this fund, as one does not have to be an accountant to see that the available budget will barely scratch the surface in what is needed by small businesses in the next few months. PLEASE put things in place to ensure that these applications are submitted sooner rather than later.

Qualifying Criteria Summary

  • CIPC  Registered (Sole Props can also apply for registration).
  • Ownership: 100% SA.
  • At least 70% SA employees.
  • Priority to owners who are: 1) Women 2) Youth (under 29? years) 3) People with disabilities.
  • SARS and UIF compliant.

STEP 1: Registration


If you have not registered as an SMME with the Department of Small Business Development, please do so urgently at

* This registration is (confusingly) the same form as for the Business Growth Resilience (BGR) application. The BGR  is to take advantage of business opportunities in critical and essential goods supplies pertaining to Covid-19.

Please click here for a brief guide (our interpretation) of the registration for SMME relief.

I've clicked SUBMIT. Now what?

  • It feels like you have just sent a letter to Santa, but you are not sure if he is real ... don't despair. You don't immediately get a response to acknowledge your submission, but you should get an SMS from the Department within a few days (our first submission took a week and the last we got within a day).
  • You will be issued with a registration number via SMS. Please keep this safe - you will need it for step 2.
  • Please go to STEP 2 (see below).

STEP 2: Application

Application form

This is in the format of a fillable PDF file available from the website. Click on the "COVID Finance Relief Application Form"

You will need a host of supporting documents. We've setup a guide with our take on what is required (please send me an email if you have a suggested improvement).