A health officer checks the temperature. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A health officer checks the temperature. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Web based guide for businesses on how to apply for finance relief

By Edward West Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -  Frustration and uncertainty among business owners and individuals about how, when and where to apply for Covid-19 financial relief initiatives has seen Spartan SME Finance open a web-based guidance resource, called the Covid-19 Relief Registry.

Kumaran Padayachee, the chief executive of the 38-year old firm, said in an interview on Monday that most businesses and employees affected by the lockdown had heard about various programmes from government and the private sector that were designed to potentially help them to buffer their businesses against the impact that Covid-19 was having on the economy.

However, there were difficulties in finding these programmes, accessing their webpages, or finding out how each one works, and how to apply.

It was for this reason that Spartan SME Finance created the Covid-19 Relief Registry as a public service to SMEs.

The registry provides practical guidance, and lays out the details of each initiative.

Padayachee said the financial relief announcements by the government and private sector were highly commendable.

But given the speed with which some of these initiatives had been put together, there were likely to be some teething troubles, and some of the initiatives were still being operationalised, and so the Covid-19 Relief Registry would be updated daily..

“As a debt funder ourselves, we know the pain many SMEs are experiencing right now and wanted to provide a free valuable relief resource that any SME can tap into to assess: if they can apply for relief, how to go about applying, what to expect, and the nuts and bolts of each offering”, he said.

He said the Covid-19 Relief Registry was a work in progress.

“Relief initiatives typically go through the phases of announcement, followed by development, and then they put the operations in motion – this includes processing applications – which is at the heart of what small business owners want to know right now,” said Padayachee.

For now Spartan had categorised the various programmes and mechanisms into: SME relief funding; essential services; SARS; employees; and individuals.

“With new initiatives being announced regularly, we will continue to build and add to the Covid-19 Relief Registry day-by-day,” said Padayachee.

He said it was the type of registry that business owners needed to keep going back into daily, to find the updates as the details of each programme unfold. He said also that it was important not to “clog the system” with unnecessary applications.


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