Telkom Business partners with Fundrr to provide working capital loans for small businesses
JOHANNESBURG – As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, numerous South African businesses have been decimated and millions of employees are losing their jobs as a result of the impact of the lockdown put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Yellow Pages by Telkom Business announced on Tuesday that it aimed to fast track the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by offering telecommunication and marketing support and had teamed up with Fundrr to offer loans to businesses wanting to grow.
Yellow Pages – a division of Telkom Business – provides support packages that help small businesses develop their online visibility and grow their sales and branding into new markets.
Telkom Business, Yep and Yellow Pages chief executive Lunga Siyo said on Tuesday that online presence was more important than ever, especially during Covid-19.
“We offer all small businesses access to an online footprint which will enable growth and increased awareness within their sector. One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is access to funding, so we have teamed up with an alternative fintech lender for SMEs, Fundrr, to round off our offering by providing a holistic support package,” he said.
Fundrr provides one of the quickest turnarounds on business loan applications in the market. The application and onboarding are completed online in less than eight minutes and responses are provided within 24 hours.
It offers loans for South African businesses in any industry that have at least a 12-month track record, with a minimum of R1 million turnover or asset value and which are operational under the current lockdown level.
The South African government also set up a Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme to help ease some pressure off qualifying businesses negatively affected by low economic activity following the lockdown imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Funding is typically used to buy stock, open new stores, purchase equipment, undertake renovations or expand the business.
In a joint statement the companies said: “If you are a Telkom Business and/or Yellow Pages client and you qualify for a loan, Fundrr will provide you with funding for your business faster.
“If you are not a Telkom Business or Yellow Pages client and you wish to become one, if you successfully apply for funding, Fundrr will pay for your first six-months Yellow Mystart subscription which will help your business to gain online traffic, increase its turnover through online revenue streams, improve SEO and increase your social media presence. This collaboration will allow you to grow your business by getting access to working capital as well as marketing and online support.”
Fundrr chief executive Idan Jaan said they had realised that new and innovative ways to evaluate small businesses for credit were needed.
“So few SMEs actually qualify for funding and there’s a desperate demand for financial assistance, particularly during this pandemic. There’s insufficient government support available and banks lack the appetite and understanding how to underwrite small businesses. The copious amount of paperwork and long turnaround times preclude small businesses accessing the working capital they require.
“Consequently, we developed an automated credit model that analyses close to 100 data points that include data sources such as social media presence and online marketing presence to provide a more complete picture of small business and its growth possibilities. These various data inputs produce a Fundrr Score, and on this basis, we provide loans fast to small businesses ranging from R20 000 to R500 000.”
Jaan said the repayment of loans was also tailored. “We analyse the cash flow patterns of the business and recommend a repayment structure that best suits their income - either daily, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly over a 3 to 12-month period.”
He said rates of interest varied depending on the strength of the business. Lower risk businesses could expect to pay lower rates. Businesses will only qualify if they have not had any judgement, default or debt reviews in the past.
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), welcoming the decision taken by the President Cyril Ramaphosa to move South Africa to level 2 of lockdown, said the Covid-19 pandemic had caused immense damage through significant loss of lives as well as extraordinary job losses in this country. The lockdown has also worsened the inequality between the rich and poor.