Rupert R1 billion pledge not freebie but loans to SMEs

The Rupert Family has tapped small businesses financing company, Business Partners, a company the family played a key role in establishing nearly 40 years ago as an administrator of the R1 billion the family last week pledged to assist businesses battered by the coronavirus.

Ben Bierman, Managing Director at Business Partners, said the company has been working around the clock to put guidelines and systems in place to ensure the funding reaches businesses that need it most.

“We will have distinct and separate financing programmes available for both sole proprietors and formalised SMEs to ensure widespread support. We expect to make an announcement regarding the criteria, repayment terms and how to apply for the finance this week,” said Bierman.

“The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 will lead to the demise of many SMEs across the world. We believe that through the funding made possible by the Rupert Family and Remgro Limited, together with other initiatives being implemented by both the public and private sector in South Africa, we can help sustain many of the affected businesses and protect jobs for years to come.”

Business Partners provides small businesses loans that range from R500, 000 to R50 million.

According to the company’s website: “​Our story started in 1979 at a business conference in downtown Johannesburg. The late Dr Anton Rupert – egged on by his son, Johann – proposed the idea for a joint venture between the public and private sectors to finance and support SMEs.”

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