The announcement by the Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, to offer financial aid to thousands of small businesses affected by COVID-19 is a step in the right direction. As the situation evolves every day a more coordinated, planned process is required and these actions must be clear and decisive.
Property Point has found that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the impact on small businesses has been widespread. They need help at various levels and they need it as soon as possible. Discussions with the more than 250 businesses across the country on its two-year programme found four emerging themes:
On Thursday the 19th of March, the Department announced that it would use its Debt Relief Fund and Business Growth Resilience Facility to fast track support to SMMEs. Property Point founder, Shawn Theunissen, said that the Department’s announcement of assistance needed to provide more detail before it could be appropriately assessed and stress-tested with the realities of the SMMEs on the ground. “The fund and facility are platforms that have been around for some time. These solutions are already in the market and under these circumstances we need something differentiated and fit for purpose,” he explained
“We are pleased that the Minister is using existing departmental tools such as the www.smmesa.gov.za platform. The next step would be to urgently look into solutions that address the needs of these businesses and evolve with the demands of the pandemic,” he added.
Property Point calls on the Minister to ensure that the relief package which is expected on the 24th of this month includes the following:
Theunissen said the high level of public and private sector coordination, as was currently being seen in the United States and which including a $300 billion relief package for small business, was required to ensure that vital economic support to SMMEs to overcome the short-term loss of revenue they were experiencing.
Nigeria has also announced a $136 million fund to help small and medium businesses, Malaysia $453 million in loans, and Indonesia has set up loans of up to $655,000 for SMEs.
“We also would like to see banks and financial institutions responding accordingly so that as a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it,” said Theunissen.
In addition, corporates entities could also ensure that they support small businesses. Large companies less affected by COVID-19 could expedite payments, cap prices on essential supplies, and where needed offer “good faith” payments for projects currently underway but which may have stalled due to COVID-19 to assist SMMEs with cashflow.
Property Point sees itself as partner to the public and private sector in fighting the pandemic. We ask that all business associations, incubators and accelerator programmes offer their expertise as a means of coming to effective solutions. No organisation can do this alone.
Shawn Theunissen, Founder of Property Point
Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 0340
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