Vodacom extends COVID-19 loans for SMMEs

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 24 Mar 2020
Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial Services.
Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial Services.

Vodacom is extending loans to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to help them deal with cashflow challenges as the sting of the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) intensifies.

After a surge in COVID-19 cases in SA, president Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday announced a nation-wide lockdown, restricting travel, leisure, work, churchgoing and other aspects of life, which will hit small businesses hard.

The SMME sector is expected to come under even greater pressure due to government’s extraordinary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Now, Vodacom says in the interest of stimulating economic growth, it hopes to provide such small businesses with quick and easy access to business funding.

The company says given the country’s weak economy in recent times, many businesses are already having their resilience tested by having to work with restricted budgets and limited access to credit while navigating local and international economic challenges beyond their control.

“At times like these, access to funding becomes critical to the sustainability and success of a growing business,” says Vodacom.

The telco says fintech solutions are well-positioned to step in and provide funding to this sector of the market, especially now that many small businesses will experience cashflow challenges in the face of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Mariam Cassim, chief officer of Vodacom Financial Services, says: “We recognise the financial challenges SMMEs face in the current economy as it relates to access to funding and the ability to receive cashless payments in an affordable way.

“This is why Vodacom Financial Services introduced VodaLend, a disruptive SMME business funding product that lets business owners apply online for funding and have an answer within four hours. It’s quick, easy and not limited to Vodacom customers.”

Additionally, Quintin Van Vuuren, executive head of VodaLend at Vodacom Financial Services, says: “Business owners know how to conduct their trade, produce and sell products and deliver services.

“However, many struggle to navigate the complex financial environment in which their businesses operate. They need assistance with financial literacy, financial planning and effective money management.”

According to Vodacom, the wasted effort in approaching the wrong funders or submitting incorrect information can be spent on more productive activities.

“That’s why organisations that fund small businesses must make the application and approval process less complicated, quick and tailored to the company’s needs.”

Van Vuuren notes: “The under-serviced small business market is full of potential and allows innovative funders, who are able to tailor business-specific solutions, to help these companies reach their full potential.

“Easy online applications, faster turn-around times on application approvals and the ability for the business owner to access the cash quickly, are just some of the areas in which digital funding institutions need to focus. It is also important to consider the real value-added services offered, such as free legal cover with the funding.”