The European Union (EU) funded Ecosystems Development for Small Enterprises Programme (EDSE) is an innovative and multidimensional programme that aims to effect meaningful change across South Africa’s Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprise (SMME) ecosystem. The overall objective of the programme is to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and employment creation in South Africa. It has total programme funding of 56,445,800 Euros.

The programme was initiated in July 2017 and will be implemented to end October 2024.

The programme has three (3) Key Result Areas (KRAs):

  • KRA 1 - Competitiveness of SMMEs, and their ability to meet procurement requirements of large multinational/local corporations, government & SOEs improved.
  • KRA 2  - Access to finance for SMMEs with limited or no access to finance improved.
  • KRA 3 - Capacity of relevant government departments/agencies in enhancing regulatory & administrative environment for SMME strengthened.

The programme is implemented by the National Department of Small Business Development (DSBD), Seda, sefa and the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). The programme is a combination of Budget support funding and Complementary support or Technical assistance and expertise from the EU as illustrated below.


EDSE Programme achievements to date per KRA:


  • 4IR Incubators supported (KZN, Fstate, LP, MP)
  • ESD support
  • ICT systems support
  • Market access for digital entrepreneur training (MADE training videos)

  • BDS support, info & tools
  • ShetradesZA hub support

  • Township econ development work with City Support Programme
  • DALRRD – Livestock Tracking system (LITS) database development
  • DALRRD – Laboratory Information System development
  • Agri - Value-chain mapping
  • Training & capacity building


  • ESD Fund
  • Innovation fund
  • Youth Challenge Fund
  • Position papers/ webinars/assessments on SMME credit guarantees. Micro finance support and finance policy support
  • Youth videos


  • Policy & legislation support
  • Masterplan support – link to NISED factsheet on DSBD website
  • Webinars/policy dialogues/roundtables/stakeholder consultations support
  • Partnerships
  • Research support
  • Red Tape Reduction support



The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 European countries. It is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. It acts globally to promote sustainable development of societies, environment and economies, so that everyone can benefit.

The SA and EU have a strategic partnership in place and as part of this partnership enabled funding support to the National Department of Small Business Development (DSBD). For more information on the partnership and opportunities:

Ecosystem Development for Small Enterprise (EDSE) programme - EU European youth portal –

EU Enterprise Europe Network – world’s largest support network for SMMEs –

Website Direct link: