The aim of SME-CONNECT is to expand and deepen industrial development in the small industrial business segment.




SME-CONNECT is a strategic collaboration model to expand and deepen industrial development in the small industrial business segment through leveraging the skills, balance sheets, resources, networks, and influence of all partner entities to develop and grow SMEs through the following three levers:


  • Facilitating market access for small industrial businesses to improve the predictability and consistency of their cashflows and margin improvement by linking them to local and export markets while enhancing their long-term sustainability.
  • Access to appropriate and timely finance aligned to the operational, investment and expansion needs of targeted small industrial businesses. Ensuring SMEs have access to the right financial instruments including grants, incentives and concessionary loans that cater for their investment and expansion needs; and
  • Focused business and technical support that delivers value for customers and build market share for targeted small industrial businesses. It is an intentional solution to provide SMEs with access to financial and operational expertise to assist them with building resilient and sustainable enterprises.




Based on the partnership principles of co-creation, shared value and leveraged support. The IDC seeks to:


  • Establish strategic partnerships with influential private and public sector role-players
  • Respond to the specific needs and challenges faced by SMEs, while developing a range of unique interventions
  • Contribute to policy and support interventions to create a collaborative platform comprising the private sector, government, and other financial institutions
  • Leverage the skills, balance sheets, resources, and influence of all partner entities to develop and grow SME’s


In adopting a partnership approach through SME-CONNECT, the IDC seeks to commit its resources to ensure SME development initiatives in South Africa achieve optimal impact and results, building resilient and competitive SMEs.

Industrial Business Segment

The IDC funds small and medium enterprises with a minimum funding requirement of R1 million and a maximum of R1 billion.


Our funding is structured in a manner that is most appropriate to meet the needs of businesses as the structuring options include:


  • Funding terms: Short, medium, and long-term loans
  • Payment holidays: These can be negotiated where applicable, allowing for periods where no re-payments are required from the SMEs either on capital or interest repayment


The IDC has experience in a range of funding instruments including:

  • Debt
  • Equity
  • Quasi-Equity
  • Guarantees
  • Trade Finance
  • Bridging finance and Venture Capital


The IDC funds businesses operating in the following sectors:



Partner with Us

Through the IDC’s SME-CONNECT you can leverage our capabilities and experience to ensure your SME development initiatives achieve the desired impact and results. The partnership can take several forms, such as:


  • Funding lead referrals
  • Co-funding of programmes
  • ESD fund management
  • ESD matched funding
  • Co-design and co-creation of ESD programme