The Zuck Buck
Detail of an image from Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before a committee of the US House of Representatives on 23 October 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  • South African small businesses can now apply for a small bite of a $100 million Facebook Covid-19 grant.
  • SA businesses with at least two but no more than 50 employees can get R24,482 in cash, and another R14,689 in coupons for Facebook ads.
  • In return they only need to provide financial statements to show the impact of the coronavirus. 
  • The corrupt, and anyone with a close relative in government, need not apply.
  • You can't use the money for tobacco or booze, but bars and franchises are welcome to apply.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


Small businesses in South Africa can now apply for a cash grant from Facebook as part of the online behemoth's Covid-19 relief efforts.

“We've heard that a little financial support can go a long way,” Facebook says.

But if you are a fraudster, corrupt, or have close family in government, you need not apply.

Facebook says it is offering $100 million – the equivalent of R1.7 billion – in cash and advertising credits in 30 countries as part of the programme.

On offer in South Africa is R24,482 in cash and, if you want it, another R14,689 in ad coupons that can be used to buy display ads on Facebook and Instagram.

The ad coupons have to be used within 90 days of issue.

The cash also comes with a few strings attached, including that you can’t use it for tobacco, booze, political lobbying, or to gamble.

Any business with at least two but no more than 50 employees is eligible to apply, as long as it "experienced challenges due to Covid-19", and has been in business for at least a year.

Facebook has not said exactly how it intends to select those who get the money, only that it is "focused on helping the businesses who need it most in this time of crisis".

Franchise-holders can apply, as can bars and restaurants, but non-profit organisations are not eligible. Facebook says it is happy to accept applications for multiple businesses from the same owner.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and can not have family members employed by Facebook or Deloitte Ireland, which is administering the grant process.

Conviction of any of a list of serious crimes will make you ineligible, including bribery, corruption, fraud, and animal cruelty.

Also ineligible are government officials, government employees, and government representatives and their close family members – at any level of shareholding.

In order to apply, and if you make it through the first round, you'll need:

  • proof that your business is at least a year old via a registration certificate or similar
  • recent, unabridged financial statements including at least a balance sheet and an income statement or a statement of profit and loss
  • photo ID for everyone who owns 20% or more of the business.

Applications close at 18:00 on 5 September 2020.

Go to the Facebook grants page and select South Africa to start the application process.

Application forms are available in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Sepedi, and Sesotho.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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