JOHANNESBURG - A former investment banker-turned-entrepreneur is rewriting the rules of engagement as far as connecting startups with funding opportunities are concerned.
Businesswoman Thandeka Buthelezi is matching startups operating in the manufacturing sector with the R44 billion generated by stokvels per year in South Africa.
Buthelezi, 30, from Johannesburg, says her experience working for investment banks spurred her to establish her company Fincamp in 2012. She says the company is modeled after the JSE-listed Bidvest Group, and provides services including enterprise development and information technology services, among others.
Buthelezi says her passion is assisting the human capital to function more optimally and that she is interested in entering uncharted territory.
It is for this reason that she came with a mobile app called CFB3, which allows stokvel participants to be able to interact with startups by funding their invoices.
Buthelezi, who has worked for Citibank and Deutsche Bank as an equity operations analyst and operations analyst, respectively, says they spent the whole of last year and half of 2018 signing a number of startups who have a huge potential in manufacturing.
She said some of the startups could not meet demand and struggled to access funding.
With the CFB3 app now in place, Buthelezi says the fledgling businesses have expressed a willing to work with stokvels to address their financial situation.
“They are saying if stokvels fund them, they are willing to look at profit-sharing with them,” says Buthelezi, who matriculated from Centurion College in 2006. She holds the ACI certificate on financial instruments, which is required globally for anyone working on an investment bank’s operations department.
Buthelezi says interactions between stokvels and startups will address the lack of financial literacy confidence in global communities and also the barriers and inadequacies of startup funding.
“I strongly believe that the current existing annual R44 Billion financial muscle of stokvels will have a great positive impact in curing the over R300 billion (small, medium and macro enterprises) credit gap in South Africa alone,” says Buthelezi, who resigned from Deutsche Bank in 2016 to focus on her business on a full-time basis.
She says this is a win-win situation for stokvels and startups as the former are forever looking for ways in which to increase interest on their savings.
Buthelezi says the culture of saving and “honest interest earning” is encouraged and facilitated through the CFB3 app.
The businesswoman, who is studying towards an LLB degree at the University of South Africa, says: “I’m very much interested in the advocacy side of things, as opposed to enforcing the law. I want to find innovating ways in ensuring that justice happens even in the entrepreneurship space.”
“When we grow up we want to be like Bidvest because we are following more or less the same model.”
Buthelezi volunteered for leadership development organisation City Year after matriculating and represented South Africa at one of its conference in New Hampshire in the US the following year in 2007.
The entrepreneur, who regards herself as a leader, has also given inspirational talks in the UK and the US.
She says they would also uniquely position Fincamp to tap into the endless opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution .
“There is no way that technology is going to go back. Henceforth, it’s onwards and upwards.”
Buthelezi says she has been rallying the lucrative stokvel sector to come to the fore and fund the startups.
“If you fund startups you are saying, ‘I’m giving this money to be able to receive profit sharing in years to come’,” she says.
She says they would like to see the company listed in the JSE. “We also want to see it owning infrastructure in the connectivity environment. People will get data and fibre (connection) directly from us in the future.”
- BUSINESS REPORT