The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) says it will help small black businesses form partnerships with larger international companies in the lead-up to the Fifa Soccer World Cup in 2010.
"The NEF would act on behalf of black entrepreneurs and businesses in their quest to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the World Cup," said NEF chief operating officer Andrew Wright.
"For instance, we have taken on a lobbying role to help international companies find partners in local black companies to carry out the work required for the World Cup."
The NEF announced at the international Soccerex football convention in Dubai yesterday that it was developing a database of international companies looking to work with local businesses. The process would include helping international firms understand the role of black empowerment in the South African economy as a social imperative.
Wright explained that the NEF would offer bridging finance, asset finance, or term loans to black-owned businesses requiring capital to ensure effective delivery on specific contracts.
It would also help local businesses meet the requirements of international partners.
NEF chief executive Philisiwe Buthelezi said that black businesses were finding it difficult to access funding to either secure or deliver procurement contracts and, as a result, it had launched preferential procurement financing to fill this gap.
"We are particularly proud of our preferential procurement financing product that helps black businesses that have either won or have been short-listed for a tender [and require capital to ensure effective delivery]," said Wright.
He said this financial product would also be used to help those who signed contracts with international companies.
"We see this initiative dove-tailing nicely with these efforts to facilitate [local-international] partnerships," he said.