A year ago, Ockert Cameron sat down and planned the annual budget for his business, Raw Food for Pets.
What he didn’t know then was that the crippling power cuts that spread through the country last year would send his costs ballooning.
“It’s my financial year-end in February, and we’ve spent more than R100k that we didn’t budget for just to make sure we can continue operating,” said Cameron.
Raw Food Pets is an online store, supplying healthy, natural pet food for domestic dogs and cats across Gauteng.
Cameron is one of thousands of business owners who continue to take strain under the pressure of ongoing load shedding.
And it’s only going to get worse.
It’s why businesses like Raw Food for Pets—business like yours—need fast, easy access to business finance during a time of crisis.
Emergency Task Force Fast-Tracks Business Finance Applications
In December last year, small businesses were hammered by the deepest power cuts yet. For the first time, South Africa experienced Stage 6 load shedding.
An analysis by the Bureau for Economic Research found that these outages sent manufacturing and business activity plummeting throughout the country.
That’s when Lulalend CEO, Trevor Gosling, stepped in, announcing the launch of the SME Load Shedding Task Force. This unit set out to accelerate applications for business finance driven by the impact of load-shedding.
“Typically, applications for business finance take 24 hours to process. When a business tells us they’re being severely affected by load shedding, we prioritise that application so we can help them survive,” said Gosling.
Lulalend is running a countrywide survey of SMEs to gain a deeper understanding into the needs of South African business owners. (Complete the survey here and stand to win one of five R1000 Takealot vouchers.)
“Early results show more than 60% of businesses are struggling with losses due to power cuts,” said Gosling.
Typically, applications to traditional financial institutions take weeks or longer, added Gosling.
And right now, when the money can’t come soon enough, having the ability to get cash quickly makes all the difference.
“Because Lulalend uses technology to score businesses based on real-time performance, we can get the best funding to our customers, fast.”
Access to Business Finance Critical for SMEs
Raw Food for Pets is one of the businesses that have secured funding from Lulalend to deal with the fallout from load shedding.
“I understand why businesses are getting depressed. I understand why people are not happy. It’s not easy…Going to Lulalend has helped us cross this bridge.”
To keep trading, Raw Food Pets has moved to an export cold store. The facility provides three levels of generation, a precaution that doesn’t come cheap: it’s a measure that’s doubled monthly storage costs.
“We’ve had to change the way we store frozen products, but there’s a premium attached to that,” said Cameron.
Staying connected is critical. Raw Food for Pets is an online store; one that strives to meet the needs of its customers, despite load shedding.
That commitment to responsive customer service requires reliable internet access.
A diesel generator and backup for uninterrupted power supply added to the escalating costs, said Cameron.
But for other SMES, there’s been no way out.
Cameron recalls a number of suppliers and competitors that have been forced to shut their doors, resulting in scores of job losses.
“Load Shedding is Something we Dread.”
Now, the survival of SMEs relies on access to business finance.
“For small business owners, load shedding is something we dread. We’ve been lucky, we had some of our own funds when we started the business.
“Businesses are closing, there’s loss of revenue…if this isn’t fixed, the SME market will implode.”
To stem the losses, Cameron suggests creative approaches to small business funding.
“Corporate lenders should consider temporary shareholding in exchange for emergency load shedding funding,” he added.
Secure Your Future With Business Finance
It’s not easy running a business. Studies into SME sustainability show high failure rates, particularly in the first five years.
But it’s even harder when you’re battling to operate without a reliable energy supply.
This is where Lulalend comes in. We provide fast business finance, right when you need it. Qualifying businesses get the funds 24 hours after they apply.
For business affected by load shedding, mention this when you apply, so your application will be fast-tracked via our load shedding task force.
If you’re ready to protect your business’s future, apply for business finance with Lulalend today.