Visa creates initiative to support local SMEs

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Digital payments company Visa has introduced an SME resource hub, to not only champion South African small businesses but also encourage consumers to buy local.

As the coronavirus continues to take a toll on the country’s economy and jobs, there have been increased calls from government and industry to support local small businesses.

In today’s weekly newsletter, president Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the challenges of the nation-wide lockdown on economic activity, adding that small companies, whose turnover has been wiped out, will be even harder hit.

To support the small firms shaken by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, the company has made available a Visa Small Business Hub.

According to Visa, the decision to introduce the hub follows its study to determine the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on commerce for consumers and small merchants locally.

Among the findings highlighted in the report is increased anxiety among merchants, with 55% of small businesses reporting a decrease in consumer spending during COVID-19.

The hub, an online merchant platform, provides tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses. It will feature leading merchants that embody the passion and entrepreneurship of small businesses across SA.

In addition, Visa will be working with key small businesses across the country and encouraging South African consumers to shop local.

Aldo Laubscher, Visa country manager for SA, says: “At Visa, we are proud to support merchants and recognise that many small businesses have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. From e-commerce to security, our ‘Shop Local, Support Local’ initiative aims to help support them and champion the local small businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities.”

Visa will also debut a series of podcasts hosted by Laubscher, in which he will interview industry, government and business personalities to discuss challenges facing SMEs in SA, as well as solutions to these challenges as they focus on recovering post-COVID-19.

For more details on Visa’s small business initiative, or to find out how you can support a small business near you, click here.

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