Connect with us

Business Home

Merger enables SMEs to access funding more speedily – Miguel da Silva

Published

on

Miguel da Silva, managing director of Retail Capital Group’s Funding division.

CAPE TOWN – Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the growth of our country’s economy. It’s estimated that SMEs contribute over a third (34 percent) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and make up roughly 90 percent of South African formal businesses. But considering it is growing at a mere 1 percent, there is a clear need for investment into this vital sector.

But for this to change, the way small businesses apply and access these funds needs to become more efficient.

Even though government committed R1.5 billion into a Small Business Fund last year, the reality is that this needs to be shared among more than 2 million SMEs. More is needed to make a real difference to the economy. As a corollary, the reliance on private lenders has increased significantly.

In a move designed to provide its small business customers with the means to access additional funding in a challenging economic climate, international cloud-based accounting platform Xero has partnered with  three of South Africa’s leading digital lenders – Bridgement, Retail Capital and LulaLend.

Access to funding, especially when it comes to supporting increased stock levels, new locations and new channels to customers, is a business imperative for SMEs. The agreement between Xero and the three digital lenders aims to address this.

The agreement allows customers to contact these lenders from within its platform. In turn, the lenders will be able to access financials from applicants immediately, speeding up the approval process and removing the need for cumbersome paperwork.

“We want to help South Africa’s small businesses thrive by removing the friction involved in accessing funds,” says Colin Timmis, General Country Manager, Xero SA. “A lack of capital is one of the biggest challenges impeding small business growth in this country so by integrating the latest business finance apps with Xero, SMEs will have better accounting data, which can help them access capital.”

Launched in September 2016, Bridgement identified a gap in the local market to provide short-term financing solutions for SMEs. The company empowers these small businesses to expand operations by taking on bigger projects by bridging gaps in cash flow through an invoice and finance creditor facility of up to R1 million.

“We reached a personal record when our quickest time to funding for a customer was 2.5 hours from application to receipt of funds,” says Daniel Goldberg, founder of Bridgement. “To put this into context, the average time among major banks in the country is approximately five weeks.”

From a partnership perspective, Bridgement is excited about the potential to make funding accessible to a broader base of SMEs.

“Many SMEs do not apply for funding because they either do not understand the process or are disheartened by getting turned down numerous times,” says Goldberg. “This partnership sees us delivering improved innovation to make things simpler in small business finance.”

Since 2011, Retail Capital, has advanced almost R2 billion to SMEs and has helped over 6 000 SME businesses in the last year with funding for expansion. This in turn leads to business growth and more employment.

“Banks have made gaining access to funding a very tedious process where we offer SMEs with speedy, convenient access to funding,” says Miguel Da Silva, MD of Retail Capital Group’s Funding division. “We estimate that the additional funding provided by us over the past eight years has resulted in more than 12 500 jobs being created.”

According to Da Silva, the Xero partnership is designed to offer a faster funding solution.

“Already, access to the Xero API has enabled Retail Capital to view customer information easily, resulting in real-time decision-making on the approval process. It alleviates much of the time pressure when it comes to determining the eligibility of a small business for funding.”

The third partner, Lulalend, was launched in 2013 to help grow small business in the country. Like Retail Capital and Bridgement, Lulalend is a digital business working with access to customer data instead of meeting them face-to-face.

“SMEs are significantly underfunded and banks are not proactive in helping them grow,” says Trevor Gosling, founder of Lulalend. “We wanted to launch a technology company that could provide SMEs with assistance at scale.”

It provides lending to a variety of clients ranging from those with R100 million turnover to sole traders.

Integrating with Xero enables Lulalend to gain immediate access to company records, resulting in a more efficient credit risk assessment. This greatly improves the speed of funding decisions, providing small businesses with the capital they need to grow.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

Fashion

OPIO, Egypt’s leading women’s clothing and lifestyle brand raises USD 300,000 seed round

Published

on

OPIO, Egypt’s leading DTC (Direct to Consumer) everyday women’s wear brand has raised USD 300,000 investment in a seed round from AUC Angels, local and regional angel investors along with follow-on funding from Flat6labs Cairo.

Launched in 2017, Opio started as a digital native vertical, capitalizing on the long-abandoned Egyptian apparel industry and the surge in online shopping demand. OPIO commissions white label and toll manufacturing women’s wear apparel to different manufacturers and offers it to it’s ever growing customer base at affordable, competitive pricing through its digital platform www.opioshop.com

OPIO caters to people’s desire for simplicity. They seek to eliminate the hassle of researching brands and choosing from numerous options, to make the shopping experience more effortless. The company develops strong ties with local manufacturers, markets, and distributes their own products without using middlemen, which enables them to reduce costs, interact directly with consumers, and provide a seamless start-to-finish buyer’s experience.

“What I see in this market is a huge supply-demand imbalance.” said Shady Mokhtar the co-founder and CEO of OPIO, adding “Egypt has thousands of manufacturers with exceptional manufacturing capabilities yet, a total lack of modern day customers requirements, up to date fashion trends and marketing know-how, specifically in digital marketing practices.”

“On the other hand we’ve witnessed some jaw dropping internet penetration in Egypt the past 10 years, a hyper exposed gen Z, with very limited online offerings.”

“We’ve proven that we can develop a value proposition that can easily compete with international brands, Egypt is full of design and creative talent. Backing this up by relentless focus on customer experience we are confident that we can easily add a strong mark on the local and regional online fashion market.”
Added Reem Abdellaftif OPIO’s Co-founder, Creative Director and Designer-in-Chief.

OPIO Founders, Shady Mokhtar and Reem Abdellaftif

Over the past couple of years, OPIO’s focus was in developing strong supply chain capabilities and bring onboard a team with a diverse caliber, from digital marketing specialists, to tech experts, as well as fashion design and creative teams. The company acquired talents from reputable e-commerce companies to gain a deeper insight into scaling.

Yaser El Khereji CEO of Albasateen trading company and one of OPIO’s lead investors, says, “We were impressed with Opio’s unique value proposition, We are planning on providing OPIO with the logistical infrastructure they need to set up a strong foothold in the GCC region. With a special attention to localizing the brand to further appeal to the target demographic.”

Mariam Kamel from AUC Angels said, “OPIO has been very responsive to market trends, both in terms of how it interacts with its clientele, and how it reacts to changes induced by the recent developments in the digitalization of the shopping experience. They’ve revised their business plan when they’ve needed to, and established key partnerships where it was beneficial. Shady and his team move fast, and always have news to share on what’s coming next.”

Opio addresses a unique market opportunity that manifested itself with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the major shift by Egyptians towards on-line transactions, the highest of which being in fashion (as highlighted by a MasterCard survey) and an strong team that share a passion for the fashion industry,
strong belief in the creative talent in Egypt, and the operational knowhow needed to deliver an a-class customer experience.

Flat6Labs is a true believer of the OPIO brand and the team behind it and is a proud partner and investor. “We stand behind the team as they take the business beyond borders and scale into a regional and an international brand”, commented Marie-Therese Fam, Managing Partner of Flat6Labs Cairo.

Issued by AUC Angels

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Health

Play Zuri Health launches its first mHealth App to help provide affordable and accessible healthcare solutions

Published

on

Play Zuri Health Limited Mobile App (Source: Zuri Health)

Play Zuri Health Limited, a branch of the Play Communications Limited announced the launch of their first mobile app, Zuri Health; that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, Apple Store as well as the Zuri Health website.

Zuri Health’s mission is to provide certified, affordable and accessible healthcare solutions via mobile with dedicated apps, wap and SMS services based on availability, location and specialization of the medical providers.

Users will have access to a myriad of professionals and services from across their home counties. They are able to book appointments instantly with any medical professional or hospital within their geographic regions, book laboratory tests, chat with the practitioners via both message and video as an added feature and request for home visits by the Licensed and Certified Medical Practitioners.

Under Pharmacy, users can get their prescription and over the counter medication online and have it delivered to their doorstep.

The SMS service functionality of Zuri Health has been designed to reach a wide range of individuals or users who may not have access to WAP or internet enabled devices.

The app’s code was written with the daily challenges patients face in the journey of seeking affordable and accessible healthcare solutions. We solve the problem of expensive and inconvenient hospital trips for small or minor diagnosis and prescriptions, long waiting times and queues during doctors’ visits and appointments scheduling and booking which can be tasking.

Through our mobile app, we also help doctors to tap into a wider market of on-demand patients and earn extra money while saving lives.

Play Zuri Health Limited co-Founders, Arthur Ikechukwu Anoke and Daisy Isiaho (Source: Zuri Health)

“Zuri Health App is very personal to me. Millions of people in Africa do not have access to quality medical care. At Zuri Health we have taken time to develop a product that will fill that gap, giving doctors a wider and easier platform to reach patients who need them. With Zuri Health the underserved populace can now access affordable and sustainable healthcare.” Arthur Ikechukwu Anoke- C.E.O and Co- Founder Zuri Health.

Daisy Isiaho Project Manager and Co-founder in an interview said, “In my view, there is an urgent need to drive more meaningful conversations in relation to frameworks around Telemedicine because in Africa very few countries have these yet its fundamental if we should achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Since the beta launch in November 2020 the company’s predicted three year growth plan is to have more than 20,000 registered doctors listed, 250,000 premium users and at least 1,000,000 mobile downloads.

Visit Zuri Health

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Press Release

Remi Duyile accepted into Forbes Coaches Council

Published

on

Remi Duyile, Former VP, Bank of America and Founder, Legacy Premier Foundation has been accepted into Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches.

Remi Duyile was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Remi Duyile into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Coaches Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Remi has access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help her reach peak professional influence. She will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum. Remi will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

Finally, Remi Duyile will benefit from exclusive access to vetted business service partners, membership-branded marketing collateral, and the high-touch support of the Forbes Councils member concierge team.

“I am truly excited for this new journey. This value of this community to the coaches around the world has been immensely significant. I am certain that my participation will further cement my leadership role in this community and my industry at large.” Remi Duyile said.

Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

Visit: RemiSpeaks

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Ads

Most Viewed