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Vodacom boosts financial services drive with SME solution

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 03 Mar 2021
Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.
Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.

Vodacom is continuing its foray into the financial services market, launching a supplier portal, VodaTrade, targeting small enterprises, assisting them to unlock business opportunities and transact securely.

The mobile operator says VodaTrade enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to transact with large organisations that have complicated systems, without having to worry about backend challenges.

The digital trading platform connects SMEs to new business prospects, providing analytics, while assisting them with receiving orders, catalogue management, as well as invoicing.

“I’m really excited that we are launching a product which caters for SMEs, which are the backbone of our economy, as it is important that they are connected to the right business tools so they are not left behind in their digital journey,” says Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial and Digital Services.

“The global pandemic has highlighted some of the economic and financial challenges, and we look forward to unlocking new opportunities for businesses through VodaTrade.”

The unveiling of VodaTrade comes at a time when Vodacom has intensified the desire to grow its financial services business, launching various solutions targeting SMEs and the unbanked.

The company launched VodaLend, a disruptive SME funding product, that lets business owners apply online for funding and have an answer within four hours.

The loan size of the advance varies from R10 000 to R1.5 million and is repayable over six to 12 months. The application process is fully digital and takes a business owner less than 10 minutes to complete.

Last year, Vodacom partnered with Alipay to collaborate on South African fintech solutions.

With the deal, Vodacom Financial Services is working with Alipay to “bring to life a marketplace of goods and services” tailored for SA, underpinned by “a digital payments ecosystem designed to serve both the banked and unbanked parts of the population”.

Now, with VodaTrade, Jenny Pather, executive head of Trading Bridge at Vodacom Financial Services, says the digital platform enables the “small supplier to seamlessly transact with large organisations with intricate systems without having to worry about backend complexity.

“VodaTrade enables this digitisation of the small supplier, which forms part of Vodacom’s mission to ensure SMEs have access to digital opportunities to succeed now and in the future.

“Our Trading Bridge platform is quite vast in its operations, switching transactions to the value of R200 billion per annum. Our objective is to enable small businesses to access this platform using the VodaTrade Supplier Portal and enable them to transact on a global scale.”