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The Small Town, Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Support Programme (STTREP)

The Small Town, Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Support Programme (STTREP)




The Small Town, Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Support Programme (STTREP) aims to provide integrated support to both  formal and informal Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in rural areas, townships, small towns and other marginalised areas in the Eastern Cape Province. The premise for the support is the acknowledgment of the marginalised, disjointed, and dualistic nature of the economies in these areas. Underpinning the programme is the notion that revitalising rural, township and small-town economies requires a multifaceted and coordinated approach. To achieve this goal the programme adopts an integrated support approach, providing both Financial and Non-Financial business development services. These services are either strategic or operational in nature and are directly aimed at improving the operations of enterprises.


The objective of the programme is to support enterprises operating in townships, rural areas and small towns and other marginalised areas with the following key elements:


a) To provide access to financial and non-financial support

b) To facilitate access to markets for goods and services thereby promoting

convergence with the sophisticated economy

c) To contribute towards the transformation and revitalisation of these areas to promote their transformation into thriving economies

d) To promote entrepreneurship and local economic development

e) To promote and support the formalisation of informal enterprises


Support Packages


The programme promotes an integrated support package be made available to eligible enterprises. This notion is based on research suggesting MSMEs face the dual challenges of access to finance and business entrepreneurial skills. Whilst integration of services is promoted it is not guaranteed and the respective service offerings are dependent on available budgets. However, the non-availability of one or more support elements will not restrict implementation of the programme.


1. STTREP Standard Incentives

The key thrust of the programme is the provision of financial incentives to beneficiaries. Incentives are available to support infrastructure upgrades, purchase of essential operating equipment and the provision of working capital dependent on the needs of the beneficiary.


The incentives are capped at a maximum value of R150 000. The programme aims to build the productive capabilities of MSMEs and thus 80% of the grant should be directed towards infrastructure or equipment upgrades/purchases whilst 20% should be directed towards working capital.


Where the support provided relates to infrastructure (equipment, machinery and material) the ECDC shall make payments directly to service providers based on written quotations received from the beneficiary. Where support provided relates to working capital and or equipment the ECDC shall make direct payment to suppliers.


The programme may consider any innovative business enterprise across any industry particularly those capable of stimulating economic development and employment.

2. Strapped in Business Support


MSMEs who are beneficiaries of the STTREP programme may, based on a needs analysis, be offered non-financial business support focused on strengthening their skills or improving their business operations. Entrepreneurial/management capacity and access to markets are constraints to MSME growth and thus an array of business support services, capped at a maximum value of R30 000 per beneficiary, may be made available to clients based on specific beneficiary requests or identified needs as an added value intervention.


Potential services include (but not limited to):

a) Business planning services

b) Market support (linkages, branding, exhibitions, marketing collateral, websites, advertising, signage, digital marketing)

c) Business Mentorship, Coaching and Consulting

d) General Management Support (including quality and intellectual property management)

e) Specialised sector specific technical skills training

f) Capacity building, empowerment seminars and workshops

g) Networking and business dialogue forums (Information dissemination)

h) Business and financial management systems


Target Beneficiaries and Eligibility Criteria


The programme targets historically disadvantaged formal or informal MSMEs operating in either Townships, Rural Areas or Small Towns and marginalized areas in the Eastern Cape. Preference will be given to existing operators who demonstrate passion and commitment for their area of trade or operations. Regard will be given to existing ECDC clients, women, youth, enterprising unemployed graduates, people living with disabilities and military veterans owned businesses.


To receive support MSMEs must meet the following eligibility criteria:


a) Enterprises based in the Eastern Cape and located in a Township, Rural Area, Small Town or other marginalized location.

b) Commercially viable businesses with a clear market need.

c) The applicant and/or owner must be full time in the business, meaning that they are not in full time employment elsewhere. However, entrepreneurs owning and running more than one business may still be considered.

d) The owner / applicant must be South African.

e) Youth, women, disabled and military veteran businesses will be prioritized.

f) Enterprising initiatives should preferably be in existence for 12 months.

g) Existing turnover should not exceed that of R3 000 000 million per annum.

h) The entrepreneur must be willing to undergo training and coaching as identified by business diagnosis.

i) Clients must be willing to allow ECDC to profile client’s business in ECDC publications to demonstrate support provided by ECDC.

j) Have a trading permit where applicable, (to be determined regionally).

k) Beneficiaries must be in good standing with ECDC at the time of application.

After receiving an incentive beneficiaries may only re-apply for funding after a three year period.

For the application process click  here

For more information, contact:

Name: Kian Reynolds

Email Address:

Contact No: 043 704 5656 / 083 388 7043

Apply for:

Opening Hours

Mon - Fri: 08h00 -  16h30

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Contact Us

Ocean Terrace Park
Moore Street, Quigney, East London, South Africa


Tel: +27 (0) 43 704 5601/46

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