The financial strain associated with COVID-19 poses an enormous economic challenge to many financially sound and previously viable businesses, leading to significant financial stress for all stakeholders and the wider Jewish community.

Gesher Small Business Relief Fund is here to help you through these challenging times.​

We will support you by providing emergency operating and working capital, and assisting you in surviving the COVID-19 related economic crisis.

Concerned Jewish philanthropists, led by the Donald Gordon Foundation, have united to establish the Fund to provide last resort, flexible term, interest free loans to appropriate Jewish owned SMMEs in South Africa. The Chief Rabbi has lent considerable efforts to support and establish the Fund.

The Fund is a new, independent entity, but will draw on the operational and administrative infrastructure and expertise of the Johannesburg Chevra Kadisha in order to effectively assist majority Jewish owned businesses across South Africa as quickly as possible.

The Fund will endeavour to safeguard businesses, protect all stakeholders and preserve jobs while enhancing the stability of the Jewish community during this challenging period.

How does the fund work?

Any South African Jewish majority-owned SMMEs will be eligible to apply for a loan.
The Fund will lend to intrinsically healthy SMMEs (including micro-enterprises and professionals) which were sustainable going concerns prior to the crisis, and where the funds will contribute significantly to the ongoing sustainability of the business.

The Fund will be available as a last resort lender for applicants who have considered and pursued all other options. For this reason, you will only be eligible if you have applied to the government-backed bank loan scheme for SMEs (unless you do not qualify for the scheme). The scheme is offered by all the major banks and application should be made through your existing banker.

Priority will be given to those businesses where the community impact is likely to be most effective and where it is likely to benefit the maximum numbers of stakeholders, particularly employees. Recipients must be registered for tax and regulatory compliant and must not be engaged in the weapons, gambling, sex or narcotics industries and not linked to any politically exposed persons.

The business must have been operating viably for at least the last 12 consecutive months and have been adequately capitalised prior to the crisis to maintain their operations.

Loans will range from R50 000 to R750 000 interest free for a business or group of businesses.
The loan term is anticipated between 12 and 30 months, depending on circumstances and nature of loan. (Repayment of a working capital bridge might be required in a shorter period.)
Loans will have recourse to the borrower.

The loan is a last resort loan, only intended to fund sustainable business operations with short term operating and working capital, which will include employee salaries and wages during the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Loan funds are not available for:

  • Repaying borrowings or other loans unless absolutely critical to the business survival and part of an approved cash flow plan
  • New initiatives and growth capital
  • Personal loans or similar
  • Dividends or buybacks (unless used as a substitute to genuine owners’ remuneration)

The Fund is being managed by a highly regarded team of experienced business people involved in various industries across South Africa, who care deeply about South Africa and the Jewish community’s future stability and growth. All applications will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

How do I apply?

Please note that the Gesher Fund is currently not taking new applications. Please email for further information

Business details:


Gesher Small Business Relief Fund NPC (Reg No. 2020/210207/08) is a Non Profit Company
operating as a deemed PBO in terms of the Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill.
Gesher is governed by an independent Board of Directors, comprising of:

Martin Sacks

CEO, Westbrooke Group, Chevrah Kadisha Board of Governors Representative

Anthony Brittan

Partner, Family Partners LLP, Funder Representative

Lawrie Brozin

Director Nandos Group Holdings and Paycorp Investments and previous Director Brimstone, Sea Harvest and
Life Health Care Group, Chevrah Kadisha Board of Governors Representative 

Mireille Levenstein

CFO, Long4Life

Sean Melnick

Founder and Chairman of the Peregrine Group and Chairman of Stenham Limited, Chevrah Kadisha Board of Governors Representative

Adam Orlin

Head, Investec for Business

Len Sank

Chairman, Bradbury Finance, Cape Town Jewish Community Representative

Jessica Spira

Business Development Director, Rand Merchant Bank

Ronnie Stein

Non-executive Director
The Foschini Group, Cape Town Jewish Community Representative

Marco Van Embden

Founder and CEO, Timeless Africa Safaris, Cape Town Jewish Community Representative

Mandy Yachad

Consultant, Previous Director of Peregrine Holdings, Rambam Trust Representative

Thank you for filling in your details

To apply for a loan please download the application form below, once complete email the application form to and our team will be in touch.


Please note that the Gesher Fund is currently not taking new applications. Please email for further information.