Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

Another bank offers energy grants to SMEs

In a time of rolling blackouts SMEs need some help to afford getting alternative sources of electricity to operate their businesses.

Another bank is offering energy grants to SMEs and they will soon be able to apply for their share of the R50 million in grants to keep their businesses running in a time when stage 6 rolling blackouts returns to the country.

In a move aimed to support and grow small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Absa will provide up to R50 million in energy subsidy under its Green Asset Finance programme for qualifying SMEs. Absa’s energy subsidy is the only grant of its kind and will provide some much-needed support to small business customers to finance solar installations and keep the lights on, Ronnie Mbatsane, managing executive for SME Business at Absa, says.

Absa will contact eligible SMEs whose commercial properties are financed by the bank and they do not have to do anything to apply. The bank will determine subsidy amounts based on clearly set out factors and can reach up to R50 000 or 10% of the overall installation value.

Identified and qualifying SME customers will be invited by Absa to opt in or out of the subsidy for their green finance needs.

“SMEs significantly contributes to job creation and economic growth in South Africa but the operating environment over the past few years often made it very difficult for these vital enablers to grow and thrive.”

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Energy failure hampers SME growth

Mbatsane says rolling blackouts in particular continue to hamper the potential of many SMEs and with these subsidies Absa helps to put liquidity back into the hands of small businesses to power their business into full production.

The energy grants follow the considerable investments Absa already made in the renewable energy sector, including the solar offering for Absa home loan clients, a personal loan option for retail customers to procure alternative power sources and bespoke solutions supported by subject matter experts who assist SMEs to find the best option for their particular needs.

“Absa has also been a leading financier in energy solutions through the Supplier Value Chain development initiative, enabling customers to determine energy needs, calculate cost and link to a trusted energy supplier.”

Mbatsane says Absa supported SME installers in funding their SAPVIA PV Green Card accreditation, supporting emerging township economies, pipeline commercialisation and allowed its SME customers to participate in the value chain.

“The Absa energy grants underscore our commitment to this vital segment and connecting individuals and businesses to communities,” Mbatsane says.

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