A REPORTED 9000 micro-enterprises in South Africa will be provided with free business and financial training.
Established by Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth in partnership with Juntos Global and Nedbank, the initiative aims to help micro-businesses develop their business model, adopt financial services, and increase overall efficiency.
The new initiative is in response to the devastating impacts of the pandemic on the informal micro-enterprise sector, with a recent study by Ipsos South Africa survey indicating that nearly two-thirds of businesses are not performing well post lockdown.
Natasha Jamal, Regional Director, the Middle East and Africa, at Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth comments on the importance of the SME sector.
“Micro and small businesses are the backbone of our economy. When they suffer, we all suffer. At Mastercard, we understand the challenges these enterprises face and are deeply committed to not only help these entrepreneurs survive but thrive during this challenging time. Partnering for good is what we do best, and this collaboration is one more way we enable sustainable, inclusive growth that will not only benefit these entrepreneurs but their families and communities too.”
The training programme
Participating micro-enterprise owners will be provided training via weekly modules that are sent via SMS. These modules will cover a range of topics including recordkeeping, benefits of digital payments, increasing revenue, and more.
Facilitated by an automated conversational platform, developed by Juntos, the programme will be distributed to micro-enterprises across South Africa.
Lizzy Mogale, Strategy Executive & Township Economy Lead, Nedbank Retail, and Business Banking provides insight into the importance of financial literacy for informal business owners.
“Digital financial services are a critical tool to grow business, increase revenue and deliver a delightful client experience at lower costs, but lack of access to formal banking tools and understanding of financial products limits small businesses’ opportunity for growth. Our collaboration with Mastercard and Juntos is great news for South Africa’s informal traders who are often left on the sidelines of the formal economy.”
This new initiative follows on from the grant scheme targetted at spaza shop owners and general dealers facilitated by Nedbank and in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development.
Access to business skills and tools for financial services is critical to business development and has the potential to unlock additional value in this existing and untapped market.