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On June 3, department of small business development representatives appeared before parliament’s portfolio committees to confirm what’s long been feared about the government’s response to saving small firms: only a fraction of the multitude of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were in line for the billions in relief announced by the government and private sector.

According to the department's numbers, only 1,501 SMEs have been approved for funding, mainly in the form of debt relief as growth and resilient funding (working capital assistance) was put on hold. This amounts to R530m, about R30m above the initial amount committed by the government. As expected, the MPs were less than impressed by this modest progress report. But most watchers of the SME space are not surprised. ..

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