Online #RiseUpSA Campaign helps looted SMMEs

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Damage caused by the recent civil unrest. (Photo credit: Twitter)
Damage caused by the recent civil unrest. (Photo credit: Twitter)

Women-owned local technology company One Linkage has created an online portal on its website to help SMMEs affected by the recent riots to rebuild and restart their businesses.

The One Linkage platform is an integrated, cloud-based digital portal that facilitates seamless collaboration and transparency between SMMEs and larger corporates or stakeholders that are able to assist with resources.

SA was plunged into mayhem when unrest and destruction originated in certain parts of KwaZulu-Natal and quickly spread to Gauteng. The unrest, sparked by protest action against the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma, escalated into days of chaos, with shopping malls, warehouses and hundreds of small businesses in the two provinces being looted.

Several online campaigns have since been established, in efforts to help curb the unrest, and clean-up and rebuild the towns, townships, shopping facilities and businesses that have been destroyed.

The One Linkage platform, established as part of the company’s #RiseUpSA Campaign, aims to enable corporates to connect with and “adopt” SMMEs that need support.

One Linkage CEO and co-founder Hepsy Mkhungo says corporate South Africa is invited to join the cause and help SMMEs affected by the riots to rebuild and restart their businesses.

“The initiative is designed to make it easy for corporates to lend support to affected SMMEs. As a small tech start-up, we know the devastating impact any disruption can have on small businesses.

“To participate in the campaign, SMMEs can register and upload required compliance documents, proof of being an existing business, and evidence of how they have been affected by the recent unrest. These documents will be used to vet and authenticate the claim,” notes Mkhungo.

The company was established as an integrated end-to-end digital start-up to enable supplier diversity by facilitating collaboration between corporates and SMMEs in the enterprise and supplier development ecosystem to achieve small business growth.

As part of the #RiseUpSA Campaign, the online platform is open to both formal and informal business.

Registration is open to all small businesses with revenue of less than R50 million a year. Although broad-based black economic empowerment compliance will be requested, it is for the purposes of recording, not a prerequisite for participation.

The SMMEs will then be categorised by industry, size, location and number of employees, to provide useful data for a corporate match.

Once a complete business profile has been submitted, high-level vetting processes will be conducted by One Linkage’s sister company, Zevoli, at no cost to any party, to minimise the exposure of corporates to unscrupulous claims, adds Mkhungo.

“Similarly, corporates are requested to register their interest to support SMMEs on the Linkage platform. They will need to provide general corporate information, contact details and indicate the type of support they would prefer to offer,” says Mkhungo.

When a match is made, a direct relationship is established between the corporate and SMME. Corporates are free to select an SMME according to their preferred criteria. Some might select only businesses in their value chain, while others might prioritise a small business based on the number of employees, its location or how it has been affected.

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