DURBAN BASED FINTECH COMPANY PRESENTS
SME ACCESS TO FINANCE SOLUTION AT INAUGURAL BUSINESS ECONOMIC INDABA
Business Unity South Africa’s inaugural Business Economic Indaba took place this week in Johannesburg with a heavy focus on job creation as well as a transformed and inclusive economy. A key message for South Africans from President Cyril Ramaphosa is that there has never been a more crucial time in our economic recovery than now, for Government, business and society to work together.
While the President acknowledged that there have been inhibitors to growth, he reminded Government and business leaders of Churchill’s profound words ‘that you never waste a good crisis’ and called for obstacles such as restrictive policy and regulatory frameworks to be reviewed and tackled. The President added that with this, the target of growing the economy in the next few years by an impressive 5% is achievable. Government Ministers including Pravin Gordhan, Tito Mboweni and Zweli Mkhize said that it was time for pragmatism and the implementation of solutions, rather than continuing to ‘conference’ them.
But this growth cannot come from big business alone. In addition to Government’s efforts to secure more than $100 billion in domestic and international investment in five years – crucial to job creation – the importance of small and medium businesses in creating jobs was reaffirmed as corporates, even in growth areas such as ICT, are reducing their labour forces.
Valuable contributions were made during the business leader panel discussion, with speakers including Nicky Newton-King (CEO of the JSE), Sim Tshabalala (CEO of Standard Bank), Sipho Maseko (CEO of Telkom) and Sizwe Nxasana (former CEO of First Rand Limited), among others.
Speaking at the Indaba, Darlene Menzies, CEO of KZN-based innovator Finfind, welcomed the approach and call for frank dialogue between Government and business. Menzies commented that the relationship between Government and BUSA was stronger than ever, and that the Indaba created a platform to debate obstacles and provide opportunities to practically address these.
Menzies explained, “Government and big business are looking to the SME sector to solve the unemployment crisis. The reality is, it is possible for SME to be the saviour of South Africa, but to do this we would need to address the issues causing the high failure rate of SMEs in the country. The Finfind platform is addressing one of the key challenges to SME survival and growth, namely access to finance. Finfind is a one-stop solution that aggregates all funding offerings available to SMEs, with almost 500 finance products offered by 250 lenders. Finfind matches the providers and seekers of SME funding, to help reduce high search costs and save the time wasted applying for finance products that SMEs are not eligible for.
Further to solving provider and seeker matching, the next major obstacle that entrepreneurs face is that are not finance ready – they struggle to provide financial statements and other documents to prove bankability and loan affordability, and collateral and credit records are also a big challenge. Finfind has developed innovative solutions for these challenges that could deliver major breakthrough for funding success for SMEs. We are grateful to the President, BUSA, the BLSA and NEDLAC for recognising Finfind’s latest project to address the obstacles of SME finance readiness. The project, selected as one the Presidential Jobs Summit initiatives, addresses both SME funding and youth unemployment. The programme provides a fast skilling opportunity to unemployed graduates, mentored by accredited accountants, to provide the services needed by SMEs to prepare their documentation to secure funding from the financers providers they are matched with.
Finfind is working closely with private sector lenders as well as Government. The Government’s Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) recently white-labelled Finfind to manage the matching of their SME lending request with their suite of SME finance products. While at times it has taken between four weeks and four months for SMEs to find out if they meet the criteria for funding, it now takes only four minutes through the use of Finfind’s platform. This public/private sector partnership is an excellent example of how fintech solutions and key partnerships can significantly contributing to eroding the stumbling blocks, and restrictions for small business in this country.”
A final comment in line with regulatory issues that must be addressed according to Menzies, was an appeal to the banks to make their data more transparent so that solution providers can see what’s happening in the sector, and to the Regulator to urgently assist in the area of business credit records.
“Consumer credit is well regulated in South Africa, but there are no records on SME credit repayment behavior. This is detrimental to small business owners as they land up not getting the funds, as only their personal credit records are considered,” concluded Menzies.
Finfind is SA’s leading access to finance solution for SMMEs. It’s an innovative online platform linking finance seekers with matching funders, providing easy access to almost 250 lenders and more than 470 funding options. Go to www.finfind.co.za to find the business finance you need, it’s free and easy to use.