Ask any small business or startup in South Africa, and many of them will tell you that funding is one of their key challenges. Added to that, according to the CombatCovid SMME Survey three out of four small businesses in South Africa have said that they were unable to survive beyond July 2020.

This is why a new Fintech startup in South Africa, SMEgo, has launched a platform to help founders and small business owners to find and apply for available business funding or grants. SMEgo has built a web-based platform that it says will "radically simplify and streamline the SMME funding application process for both SMMEs and funders."

"Finding support in the form of funding needs to be simplified to get SMMEs back on their feet. Running a business in these times is difficult enough, finding support should not be," said Rowan Spazzoli, spokesperson for SMEgo.

Funding South African small businesses

Once a user has accessed the SMEgo web platform, they will be prompted to complete a questionnaire providing SMEgo with their company particulars.

From a funder's perspective, SMEgo will allow organizations to list all available funding opportunities on a single platform and manage the application process online.

โ€œThe technology behind the platform determines which of the listed funding opportunities are suitable for the SMME. It then indicates what documents are required all the while highlighting any outstanding information," said Spazzoli.

South African small businesses facing tough times

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated many industries and as a result, many of South Africa's small businesses are facing tough times. The CombatCovid SMME survey revealed that one out of three SMMEs had reduced salaries between 75% and 100% and that the prolonged lockdown would result in 71% of SMMEs needing to retrench their staff.

According to SMEgo, below are some of the benefits that small businesses can expect from using their web platform:

Benefits to SMMEs:

  • SMEgo saves time for business owners - by working with funders, the accuracy of the application process is improved, ensuring all applications meet data requirements.
  • Apply once for all applicable funds - SMMEs can utilize a centralized platform that stores all business information in one central source allowing owners to apply for different appropriate funds immediately.
  • Help SMMEs find funding opportunities that are relevant to them.
  • It provides continuous feedback from funds on a SMMEs application status.

โ€œIn addition to navigating fund application submissions, the platform will allow SMMEs to update business profiles, mentor SMME owners as their business grows, as well as facilitate training," concluded ย Spazzoli.

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