Local start-up moves to help SMEs through COVID-19
As more organisations come out to pledge their support for COVID-19 stricken businesses, local startup Nybble Technologies has announced free support for small businesses registered on its LittleFish e-commerce platform.
LittleFish, which came in second place at the recent AyobaHack, is a community-based app that aims to encourage the online presence of SMMEs and connect them to consumers in their vicinity.
According to Nybble’s co-founder and CEO Brandon Roberts, trade platforms like LittleFish offer Africa’s digital economy growth and inclusivity potential. He says the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated small business’ need to digitally transform.
Some of the services LittleFish offers the 600 SMMEs on its platform include two-way communications between consumers and businesses, geo-location services connecting consumers to SMMEs in their vicinity and in-app stock orders.
The platform also provides access to finance through its alternative credit scoring.
“Banks can't capture this market because a lot of SMMEs are still paper-based, and the lack of verifiable financial information they keep makes it harder for them to get funding,” says Roberts. “Our algorithms use mini-ERP tools to profile and score an SMME on their growth potential, inventory flow and customer base. It then calculates the business’s likelihood to repay a loan.”
The financing tool is currently being piloted in Tanzania. Nybble has partnered with the Financial Sector Deepening Trust, a body aimed at bringing financial services to Tanzania’s underserved entrepreneurs and the country’s largest bank.
“The data gathered from the app allows store owners to qualify for credit and to access it in minutes,” says Roberts.
Collaboration is key in this time
Nybble has a small team of just under a dozen developers, consultants and analysts.
The consultancy has also launched a COVID-19 dashboard, Lockdown Levels. Advertising revenue from the dashboard is donated to a Cape Town-based non-profit Job-Abled, which helps persons with disabilities find jobs.
The dashboard’s creator and an analyst at Nybble, Vanessa Mhlom says during a global crisis like the pandemic, businesses should embrace collaboration.
“The dashboard was created to raise awareness around Job-Abled and to keep South Africans informed about the virus.”
Lockdown Levels provides information such as district-specific levels, when the current lockdown level is due to end and what activities are allowed at each level.
According to Mhlom, the dashboard can only be downloaded from its Web site as app stores are currently rejecting COVID-19 related apps to ensure that nobody profits from the pandemic.