Astron Energy announces R220m development fund 

27th January 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Fuel group Astron Energy has announced a R220-million development fund to empower small businesses in the Astron Energy value chain and its linked communities.

CEO Thabiet Booley describes the Astron Energy Development Fund (AEDF) as a “milestone in our transformation journey as an organisation”.

Astron Energy operates the second-largest petroleum retail network in South Africa with more than 800 Caltex retail service stations, which are in the process of being rebranded to Astron Energy.

The company recently completed the rebranding of its twenty-fourth site.

“[Last year] has been an incredibly exciting year for Astron Energy as we launched the roll-out of our new brand across the country, while our refinery in Milnerton is in the process of being restarted,” says Booley.

“The launch of the AEDF is the next major step for us as a company which is committed to making a meaningful difference in the communities in which we operate.”

According to Booley, the AEDF was established in line with commitments made to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

The AEDF has three flagship programmes.

The first aims to grow emerging businesses. Astron Energy says it will support new or existing small businesses in the fuel and lubricants value chain through the provision of preferential rate development loans and/or business development support.

Priority will be given to beneficiaries from disadvantaged groups, but no race group will be excluded. Black-owned businesses in the refinery by-products and retail sectors of the liquid fuel value chain are, however, a focus area.

The second programme is small business support. It will seek to provide distress or bridging finance, together with business development support, for key small business suppliers and retailers from disadvantaged groups.

Business development support will extend to training and mentoring in the areas of leadership, strategy, marketing, safety standards, as well as the provision of finance, tax, legal and other services to help establish a firm foundation for each business.

The third programme – Growing Our Communities – is focused on the communities in and around Astron Energy’s facilities and those of the group’s key customers.

The AEDF has partnered with two nonprofit organisations, digital skills project ORT SA and gold Youth Development Agency, to develop life, digital and entrepreneurial skills in targeted high school students and unemployed youth.

Another aspect of this programme is to support microbusiness incubation through grants, the development of business skills for micro/small business owners, and the formalisation of micro/small businesses so that they can compete for funding/investment.

Booley notes that the launch of the AEDF is over and above the R100-million in interest- free loans already granted to small black-owned enterprises through the company’s Enterprise & Supplier Development Fund, which has been running since 2015 and which remains a priority programme for the company.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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