Open For Business Campaign – SMME Support

Open For Business Campaign – SMME Support

A new countrywide SME support campaign will offer small businesses free marketing exposure, financial management tools, and support to digitally transform their business as they attempt to re-open following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

As a growing number of small businesses begin to shift online to meet changing customer behaviour resulting from COVID-19, Lulalend, SA’s first online funder for SMEs, has launched its Open for Business campaign.

The campaign will provide:

  • Marketing support: including exposure across Lulalend’s high profile digital platforms
  • Digital capability assessment: free audit by Lulalend’s digital marketing experts
  • Access to cash flow forecasting tools: a snapshot of an SME’s short-term financial future
  • Mentorship: connect over lunch with an inspiring mentor from your industry

The free marketing support will promote SMEs on Lulalend’s blog to help increase their exposure and improve vital search engine rankings. Businesses will also be promoted across Lulalend’s social media platforms under the Open for Business banner.

The campaign comes as internet traffic has continued to rise by 15% since President Cyril Ramaphohsa announced the lockdown in March, according to Seacom, the network service provider. These increases have included hikes in video consumption and standard web browsing.

A study from Nielsen also showed 29% of people were shopping more online since the start of the outbreak.

Michael Rampjapedi, digital marketing manager at Lulalend, said SMEs featured on Lulalend’s blog will be able to grow traffic to their sites.

“The most important benefit is the visibility, especially for a new site. You’re getting free traffic to your site. And that’s immediate, cost-effective, exposure.”

Rampjapedi said there will also be long-term benefits for a business’ search engine ranking.

Linking to the Lulalend site improves a new site’s domain authority: a group of factors that influence a site’s ranking.

“The Lulalend blog’s domain authority is similar to that of the banks. So, having those kinds of associating links is beneficial for a new site’s authority,” said Michael Rampjapedi.

Meanwhile, Lulalend’s cash flow forecasting tool will allow an SME to view a monthly breakdown of it’s expected turnover and estimated expenses for the next six months.

The Open for Business campaign will also be regularly providing valuable content to help businesses operate effectively during the pandemic, such as this Back to Business guide.

The guide, which was produced in partnership with the National Small Business Chamber, covers topics including:

  • Marketing your SME during COVID-19
  • Increasing your cashflow
  • Communicating with your team

Within Lulalend’s SME community there have been many stories of entrepreneurs adapting their businesses overnight and finding new ways of doing things to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Lulalend is offering business owners the chance to meet and learn from these inspiring individuals.

SMEs can list their businesses here.

And can stay up to date on the campaign by subscribing to the Lulalend newsletter here.

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

Small businesses owners are often wearing so many hats that they don’t have enough time to take on big, strategic thinking.  In the current climate we have seen some incredible transformations done either on-the-go or through a complete pivot.

In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two South African SMEs that are all about ”the strategy’‘ to see how they have reacted to the changes.  They both offer strategic support to business leaders and have, like most businesses, had to pivot over the last few months.

Yolanda Sing, Chloe Consultant

About your business

Yolanda is a professional coach who inspires people to connect with the latent leadership qualities within themselves.  Her technique involves working with horses.  This approach acts as a catalyst that allows people to learn in the moment and at an emotional level.  The skills they learn through working with horses translate into exceptional results in both boardrooms and families alike.  See testimonials here.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

CHLOE Consultant had to adapt and a Virtual Equine Program was developed.

Contact details:

Yolanda Sing

Graham McLeod, Inspired.org

About your business

We help organisations to; Achieve strategic business change, transform digitally
and derive more value from Information Technology investment

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We have developed a Unique COVID readiness model to share.

We are operating remotely for both consulting and training. This has proven both very productive and cost effective. We can use geographically distributed assets to apply to client needs without travel delays, logistics issues and costs.

Contact details:

Graham McLeod

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

Business Funding: An overview of how SME’s can access funding in SA

Business Funding: An overview of how SME’s can access funding in SA

Searching for business funding for your SME can be a complicated journey.

But it doesn’t need to be.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the most common ways you can get business funding in South Africa.

Jump to the section to learn more about:

  • How to find COVID-19 business funding
  • How to determine the right type of funding for your business
  • List of common funders

COVID-19 Business Funding

Small businesses across South African took a knock during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business owners told Statistics South Africa they had:

  • Lower turnover
  • Paused trading
  • Decreased working hours

And, just under 40% said they would turn to the government for funding relief during the pandemic.

And the numbers show there’s been an immense need for business funding:

  • The Department of Small Business Development received more than 30 000 applications for its Debt Relief Scheme. Eventually, 1 497 SMEs received R513 million. In total, there was a shortfall of over R4 billion
  • When applications opened for Johan Rupert’s SME relief package, SMEs submitted 10,000 applications for R2.8 billion. That exceeded the fund’s R1 billion available funding

There are, however, still sector-specific business funds available to SMEs.

And, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) shared the key COVID-19 funds with us.

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
  • Spaza shop support scheme: general dealers and traditional grocery stores in townships and villages

Sibongile Somdaka, marketing and stakeholder relations at Seda, encouraged businesses to register on the government’s COVID-19 SMME Support registration portal to apply for any of these schemes.

“We have been inundated with inquiries from clients who are non–compliant with the online registration platform.

“Because of this non-compliance, many of our clients are missing out on these available opportunities from government,” said Somdaka in a note to Seda offices.

If you want more information, you can now visit the Seda offices. On 14 June, Seda branches opened in some parts of the country.

General business funding

Beyond COVID-19 funding relief, there are hundreds of business funding products available to you.

How to find the right one for your business?

Lucille Bester, the Head of Client Relations at Lulalend, shares advice on the best ways to fund your business.

How do you get funding for a business?

As an SME, you might know about the main ways to get funding.

According to this International Finance Corporation (IFC) study, these were the most popular ways to get business funding in South Africa:

  • Banks
  • Personal savings from investments
  • Business partners
  • Credit card
  • An investor
  • Friends and family
  • Government grant
  • Fintech funder

Before taking a closer look at each option, you need to determine why you need business funding, said Bester.

“Do you need to pay a bill? Do you need funds for a piece of equipment that will generate income in six months?”

Once you have figured out the purpose of the funding, you will be able to answer other questions, like:

“Is this short-term long or long-term funding?”

Determining the purpose of your funding will save you time during the application process.

Many SMEs approach the wrong funders applying for the wrong type of funding product, according to the South African SMME Access to Finance Report.

Examples of types of business-specific funding include:

Businesses also needed funding to start new businesses, according to the report.

Gaining an understanding of the purpose of the funding lets you better plan your cash flow, said, Bester.

“You don’t want a case where you take inventory financing for over 24 months to five years. You’ve sold the inventory and already generated that income. But, you’re still repaying that loan. It doesn’t look good on your balance sheet.”

Paying off a loan for goods that are no longer bringing in revenue has the potential to harm your creditworthiness.

“So, if you have inventory finance over a three-month period, it’s not sitting on your balance sheet after that term. But, if you took funding for a piece of equipment and you bought that equipment, it’s an asset and it’s generating income for you. This looks good on your balance sheet.”

Funders evaluate these factors when they process your business funding application.

“Creditors look at your assets, liabilities, and equity.”

So, before you approach any funders:

  1. Gain clarity on your business needs and goals
  2. Find the business funding product that fits your needs
  3. Determine the criteria
  4. Submit your application

How do I get money to start a business in South Africa?

By now, you can see there are different ways to raise money for your business.

If you need capital early in your business journey, your options might be more limited.

That’s because banks, for instance, would require collateral.

“Banks would give you a reasonable rate but they will ask for collateral. And they’re not going to be quick and easy,” said Bester.

Banks often want longer trading histories, too.

Often, this makes it hard for newer SMEs to secure business funding from banks.

And while friends and family were the top sources of business funding for SMEs in other countries, Bester said SMEs should consider this option carefully. There’s always the risk of complicating your relationships.

Even if you can persuade family and friends to lend you the money to start your business, it’s not that easy in South Africa. Unequal wealth distribution severely restricts this form of finance for most South African SMEs.

Bester said businesses looking for fast, short-term funding should explore alternative funders. With Lulalend, you apply for funding online. If approved, the funds are in your account in 24 hours. And you only need a one-year trading history.

Who funds small businesses in South Africa?

Still unsure about which type of business funding is right for your business?

Here’s a roundup of the common business funders.

Government

Different government departments provide different types of funding. For instance, The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Small Business Development provide business funding.

You can get loans, grants, and sector-specific business funding from the government.

Below, is an overview of common government business funds.

SEFA

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency provides a range of business funding products, like asset finance, bridging finance, credit guarantees, and revolving loans.

The agency targets SMEs in the following sectors:

  • Tourism
  • Retail
  • Wholesale trade
  • Manufacturing
  • Agro-processing
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Green industries

Some of the criteria include:

  • South African citizenship or permanent residency
  • Written business plan that meets Sefa’s criteria
  • Collateral

There will be additional criteria depending on the type of business funding. For instance, bridging finance is typically awarded to SMEs that have existing purchase orders.

Sefa might be a good place to start. If they can’t help you business funding, they’ll point you in the right direction.

You can take this quiz to learn more about the right funding for your business.

National Empowerment Fund

The National Empowerment Fund provides funding to black entrepreneurs.

Funds include:

  • Women empowerment fund
  • iMbewu fund
  • uMnotho Fund

For a full list of funds, visit the NEF’s product page.

The criteria for the NEF’s business funding includes that your business must be:

  • 50.1% black-owned
  • Able to create a “reasonable” amount of jobs
  • Able to repay the funding

Industrial Development Corporation

The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) provides loans, venture capital, and other types of funding.

Focus sectors include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Clothing and textiles
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Mining

You may be asked for security.

For more, visit the IDC’s site.

Banks

In our business loan guide, we pulled together everything you need to know about applying for business loans.

Common criteria for business funding from banks include:

  • Security
  • Time of operating
  • Credit score
  • Financial documents, like cash flow statements

And if you’re curious about how your credit score affects your application, check out our credit score blog.

Alternative funders

Alternative funders, like Lulalend, offer a fast, easy way to access business finance. Unlike traditional lenders, you don’t need collateral. And, there are no early settlement fees.

Fast, easy business funding

If you want to learn more about accessing fast business online, visit our business funding page.

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

Small businesses have inspiring stories to share, even during the most difficult times.

In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering three South African SMEs that moved fast to respond during COVID-19.

Kallie Mamba 

About your business

We manufacture superior quality designer furniture at a small scale along with a range of other interior services including curtaining, headboards, carpets & flooring, blinds, and sofas.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Due to the pandemic, we had to take a long hard look at our business model. We estimated that our sales this year will fall by 25% – 30% so we started looking at other avenues for income generation. We are currently busy with building an online shop to sell our bespoke furniture to a wider audience. Another was to use our existing machinery, tools, and skills to expand our services so we have opened a dedicated automotive trim & upholstery department.

Contact details:

Carl Sonntag

  • carl@kalliemamba.com
  • www.kalliemamba.com
  • https://www.facebook.com/Kalliemambadesign/

Jones Consulting

About your business

Jones Consulting (Est. 2008) provides tailored health, safety, environmental, quality and emergency management solutions to organisations of all sizes. Our specialisation is in the international standards of ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We have adjusted all of our client risk assessments to include significant details on biological agents and the management of COVID-19 related incidents. We have also moved a number of training programmes online including our COVID-19 awareness programme.

Contact details:

Philip Jones

  • Info@specialisedsafety.co.za
  • www.specialisedsafety.co.za
  • https://www.facebook.com/JonesConsultingcc

Jakkie Cowdrey

About your business

We import and distribute surgical instruments. We also have the Tender for Waterless Alcohol Hand Rub (Sanitiser) for Western Cape Health Department.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Import of surgical instruments was a problem before COVID-19 due to lack of funding and our 25% shareholder in Germany not being able to fund us any longer, however, with COVID-19 the hand sanitiser tender suddenly took off in April 2020, which has prevented us from closing. Blog

Contact details:

Jakkie Cowdrey

  • jakkie@xerussurgical.com
  • www.xerussurgical.com

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

COVID-19 SME Support Guide: How to Grow During a Crisis

COVID-19 SME Support Guide: How to Grow During a Crisis

Are you unsure about how to run your business during COVID-19?

You aren’t alone.

Business owners tell us they’re feeling uncertain about the future.

That’s why we partnered with the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) to create this Back to Business guide for South African SMEs.

You’ll find a collection of resources that will help you:

  • Develop a COVID-19 workplace plan
  • Boost your cashflow
  • Communicate with staff and customers
  • Market your SME during COVID-19

This guide is part of our Open for Business campaign, an initiative to help get your business again thriving during COVID-19.

For the full guide, click here. 

Open for Business will be supporting your business growth with:

  • Tools to help you assess and forecast your business trajectory
  • Content and guides to upskill and empower you
  • Extra marketing support from our in house team
  • Fast and flexible access to business funding

For more on the Open for Business campaign, read this blog post

Want to increase your marketing? Submit your SME to our Open for Business listing. It’s free and takes only a few minutes. Add your business here.

Still need help getting back to business?

Here are a few Open for Business articles that might help you: