SA Business to Provide 1 Million Face Masks to Schoolchildren and Teachers

SA Business to Provide 1 Million Face Masks to Schoolchildren and Teachers

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A South African SME is on a mission to get one million face shields to pupils and teachers across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the nation’s schools.

This week, Cape Town-based online printing store, Webprinter Online Printing, distributed 15 000 face shields to 30 schools.

Peter Kohnert, managing director at Webprinter Online Printing, said the company developed its 1millionsmiles initiative to support the schools that most needed protective equipment.

“We wanted to help and saw nobody was thinking about the schools. We saw reports that up to 80% of schools had no protection, so we reached out to schools,” said Kohnert.

Through partnerships with its suppliers, Webprinter Online Printing produces the disposable face shields at a cost of R10.

“We will beat this crisis by standing together. Keeping our educators safe is critical, and our colourful disposable face shields have been specifically designed with them in mind. The shield provides much-needed protection while incorporating a clear window. This allows pupils to see the educator’s face which is an important aspect for effective teaching,” said the company in a statement on its website.

Donors have the option to sponsor a specific school. Or, they can make a cash donation and Webprinter Online Printing selects a school in need.

The shields are 100% locally produced, so the project helps to create jobs. Kohnert said the initiative was attracting support from international donors.

This initiative comes during a time of uncertainty about whether schools are ready to re-open after a two-month lockdown.

Initially, all schools were set to open on 1 June. However, Angie Motshekga, Basic Education Minister, postponed this to 8 June. The reason for the delay was because schools said they had not received protective equipment.

Days before schools were set to re-open, teachers tested positive for COVID-19 at two Western Cape schools. And teachers’ unions have called on their members not to return to school if they were not satisfied with the school’s protection measures.

In addition, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the wellbeing of children was critical.

In his weekly newsletter, the president said schools would only be allowed to re-open if children and teachers would be kept safe.

“As parents, teachers, governing bodies and government, we are in agreement that no school should re-open until all the necessary precautions are in place. There needs to be transparency about the level of preparedness of each of the schools. Everyone who is a key role player, be they a parent, a school governing body member, a teacher or a government official should be able to have the correct information about the state of preparedness of each school. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is safe.”

Efforts like 1millionsmiles are an example of this kind of shared responsibility, said Trevor Gosling, Lulalend CEO and co-founder.

“It’s been encouraging to see small businesses, like Webprinter Online Printing, step forward to play a role in the response to COVID-19. We’re incredibly inspired by the team’s commitment to protecting schoolchildren and fighting the spread of coronavirus.”

Kohnert had a message for other organisations that wanted to help during the COVID-19 crisis:

“Anybody can help. Yes, we have this huge goal of 1 million people, but every little bit helps. We can all look around us. Every kind of SME can help in some way, and we’ll start to trigger a chain reaction. A lot of small steps is a lot better than two or three big steps.”

To donate, visit the 1millionsmiles website or its page on Thundafund.

COVID-19 SME Support: R4 billion Business Funding Gap

COVID-19 SME Support: R4 billion Business Funding Gap

Reading Time: 3 minutes

South African SMEs asked government’s COVID-19 support scheme for over R4 billion to keep their doors open.

However, the Department of Small Business Development could only afford to award R513 million in the first round of its coronavirus SME support package.

Now, the department is working closely with the National Treasury to help SMEs survive the knock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds were part of the department’s Debt Relief scheme. At the end of last month, the department announced the first phase of the scheme had closed.

The department provided a report of the scheme:

  • Total number of applications received – 35 865
  • Total number of valid applications received – 14 451
  • Total number of applications approved – 1 497

Those 1 497 SMEs will receive R513 million.

SMEs need R3,6 billion for salaries

The difference between the number of the total number of applications and the number of valid, complete applications is because 21 414 applications were incomplete. Those incomplete applications will be referred to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). Then, SEDA will help small business owners complete their applications.

An assessment by the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) found there was a funding shortfall of R4.4 billion during the first phase of this coronavirus business funding support.

SEFA identified the key reasons SMEs needed funds:

“The balance of the 12 954 complete applications requires an estimated budget of R4.4 billion but a bulk of the applications require assistance with payment of salaries to the total value of R3.6 billion,” reads the department’s statement.

To help SMEs pay salaries, the department has teamed up with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

This means SMEs that did qualify for the UIF’s COVID-19 SME fund will now be able to access support to pay salaries. Many small businesses did not meet the requirements “due to non- compliance”, says the department. One example of non-compliance is that SMEs owned money to the UIF.  They must agree to pay that debt to the UIF before they access the COVID-19 salaries support.

There was another category of SMEs seeking funds: businesses that only needed some support to get back on their feet. This group of SMEs required R800 million.

“The DSBD will commence direct engagements with these SMMEs to ensure dedicated support for these enterprises to go back to business as President Ramaphosa has announced the gradual re-opening of the economy…The DBSD will continue to engage with National Treasury on this funding gap that is still required to fund those who have already applied.”

The Debt Relief scheme was opened in April to provide working capital to SMEs that were affected by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 support was for the following purposes:

  • Salaries
  • Rental
  • Municipal bills

The department said it would release the names of the business who had applied on 29 May. But at the time of publishing this post on 1 June, this list was not yet available.

New COVID-19 support initiatives

Meanwhile, the Minister of Small Business Development announced new COVID-19 support schemes.

Here is an overview of these sector-specific schemes:

  • Small-scale bakeries and confectioneries support scheme: small businesses can apply for equipment finance or working capital
  • Informal and small-scale clothing and textile support scheme: open to seamstresses, designers, art designers, shoemakers, etc. SMEs can use the funding for new business opportunities, courses to improve key skills, and business credit
  • Automotive aftermarkets support: open to all auto mechanics, diesel fitters, panel beaters and spray painters. Funds can be used for working capital

These schemes include business development services too, like trade tests. For more detail on the qualifying SMEs in each category, see the full press release here.

You can find application forms for these COVID-19 support schemes here.

 

5 Simple Ways to Generate PR for Your Small Business

5 Simple Ways to Generate PR for Your Small Business

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PR is an ideal way to spread the word about your small business.

That’s why we’re giving a R10 000 PR package to the winner of this year’s SANTAM Women of the Future Awards.

We’ve partnered with CN&CO to offer the prize.

Below, CN&CO’s Colin Ford writes about how you can generate PR for your SME.

How to Generate PR for Your Small Business

Public relations is a form of information management that gets public exposure for your brand or product line and/or for yourself as a business owner. PR can help to shape the credibility of your brand and the way people perceive you and your business.

The main purpose of PR is to share your message with the appropriate audience without having to pay for placement. Once you pay, it’s called advertising, and that’s an entirely different topic.

The effective use of PR can benefit your brand enormously and help you to grow relationships with the media and, ultimately, with your customers.

Here are a few tips for doing good PR:

   1.Tell good stories

This might seem obvious – but remember the word “good” is extremely subjective. What you think is interesting or important might not be everybody’s cup of tea. You need to find angles that are newsworthy and tell stories that your consumers want to hear. And remember to keep it simple. The more streamlined and snappy your message is, the more likely it is to be remembered.

  2. Choose the right media for your brand

Find out what media your customers consume and focus your energies there. Many business owners want to be seen on the front page of the Sunday newspaper, or be interviewed on talk radio by the financial guru simply because those are the media they themselves consume. Remember, your customers might not have access to the newspaper, or even listen to talk radio. The right medium could be a local knock-and-drop newspaper or a popular blog. It all depends on what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to and what your message is.

3. Build relationships

PR is a process; you need to work on building relationships both with the media and with your customers. Ultimately you want to become the person journalists call when they need information in your particular field of expertise. These relationships can take years to build. Be patient, be honest, be dependable and always be available.

4. Integrate with your marketing strategy

There’s no point saying one thing in your PR and another on, for example, your social media. Make sure your message is consistent across your advertising and communication platforms so as not to confuse your audience – or yourself!

5. Call in the experts

If you don’t feel comfortable or confident dealing with the media, speak to an experienced PR agency and see what they can do for you. A well-placed article or quote in a respected newspaper, magazine, radio station or blog can do wonders for both your business’s brand and your own.

For more on the Women of the Future awards, read Lulalend’s blog about the competition.

COVID-19 Lockdown Level 3: What it Means for Your SME

COVID-19 Lockdown Level 3: What it Means for Your SME

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On 1 June, the COVID-19 national lockdown shifts to level 3. This means more sectors can get back to work.

If your SME will start trading again, you’ll need to follow rules to keep your staff safe.

In this guide, we’ve collected everything you need to know about trading during Level 3.

This guide covers:

  • Who can trade
  • What you need to trade
  • Useful COVID-19 resources
6 Strategies Top Affiliates Use to Support SMEs During Covid-19

6 Strategies Top Affiliates Use to Support SMEs During Covid-19

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The coronavirus slowdown affects us all. But, it’s especially tough for South African business owners.

Every day we speak with business owners who are struggling. They’re worried about paying salaries and sustaining their SMEs in a post-coronavirus world.

In response, the government, private sector, and citizens have come together to offer support when small businesses need it most.

At Lulalend, we’re working hard to understand how to provide the services and support that matter to business owners right now. Our affiliate programme is an important part of this effort.

In this post, you will learn:

  • How to become a top Lulalend affiliate
  • How Lulalend affiliates help SMEs grow during difficult times

COVID-19 SME support: What are we doing at Lulalend?

To support SMEs during this difficult time, we have:

  • Continued to provide business funding
  • Set up a Facebook group for South African SMEs to connect and support each other
  • Created content that covers the latest on COVID-19 SME support
  • Lobbied for government and private sector to join forces to help SMEs

We also depend on affiliates like you.

As a Lulalend affiliate, you play an important role in our COVID-19 support programme.

If you’re a business advisor or an accountant, you are already giving SME owners valuable guidance about the future of their businesses. Now more than ever before, business owners depend on your advice to make decisions about their short-term financial futures.

As a Lulalend affiliate, you can also tell them about fast business funding.

How top affiliates support South African SMEs

Lucille Bester, Lulalend’s Head of Sales, shared practical strategies used by Lulalend’s most successful affiliates.

Bester said top affiliates made their customers aware about online funding and shared relevant business finance content with their clients.

Here’s a summary of the top points:

1. Share your referral link widely

A simple technique to spread the word about online funding is to share your referral link whenever you communicate with new customers.

Bester suggested the following tactics:

  • Add your link to your email signature
  • Create a website button to display your link prominently

2. Use customer data

Perhaps you’re a business consultant or an accountant. It’s your job to sort through your customer’s data to steer them in the right direction, added Bester.

In some sectors, SMEs are busier than ever because they deliver goods and services that are in high demand due to the outbreak.

“Maybe there’s a client who’s missing out on new contracts or opportunities because of cash flow. Here’s where you can support them to secure funding,” said Bester.

3. Ensuring a perfect match

Our top affiliates understand the minimum requirements, which include:

  • R500 000 minimum annual revenue
  • One year trading history

Unlike banks, we don’t ask business owners to submit stacks of paperwork.  All you need is three months of bank statements.

4. Teach your audience about business finance

Securing business funding can be a complex journey.

Your SME network can easily become overwhelmed with endless information from different sources.

“Your clients trust you. And they trust you to make ethical decisions in the interests of their businesses,” said Bester.

On top of connecting your clients with responsible funders, let your audience have access to content that serves their funding needs.

We’ve written about:

  • How to apply for a business loan in South Africa
  • The most common mistakes SMES make when they apply for loans
  • How fintech speeds up fintech funding

Our blog is updated weekly with new content tailored to help SMEs get the funding they need to grow. When you give business owners more information about the minimum requirements, they stand the best shot at accessing finance.

5. Subscribe to our communication channels

At Lulalend, we believe in the power of community.

That’s why we set up SA Small Business Unlocked.

Plus, we publish the latest news on SME funding on the Lulalend Facebook and Twitter channels.

Our weekly email updates SMEs about new promotions and useful content.

It’s not always hard to find the right funder for your needs. We create content that aims to help SMEs make the best decision for their business.

6. Write a Lulalend review

By writing an honest, helpful Lulalend review, you can expand your own network.

Your profile will be noticed in the search results. And review based on your real engagement with the company positions you as a trusted contact for SMEs searching for funding.

Connect South African SMEs with easy access to capital

Are you ready to spread the word about fast business funding?

As a Lulalend affiliate, you have the power to save SMEs. Together, we can expand access to finance for businesses throughout South Africa.