Entrepreneurship is a major driver of economic growth, but only when the businesses develop into scalable entities with the potential to expand and contribute to meaningful job creation.
This emphasises the critical importance of efforts to drive initiatives that fast-track small business expansion, by breaking down barriers to entry and providing support services.
While the African continent boasts a thriving entrepreneurship culture, the reality is that many of the entities in operation remain within the confines of the informal environment.
Without access to working capital, market intelligence to tap new regions and value chains, and developmental support, it can be hard for small businesses to grow.
To help alleviate some of these pain points, we have created a suite of digital solutions that are tailored to the suit the unique needs of African-grown SMEs.
Recently we invested $4million in South African fintech Nomanini. The platform connects informal merchants with distributors via an e-wallet, and aims to roll the service out across 14 African countries by early 2021.
Our enterprise online payment platform enables business owners to transact on accounts online with a single login across the Standard Bank/Stanbic banking portfolio across products, countries and currencies. The platform is available in Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Ghana, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In South Africa, businesses can take advantage of bulk instant money which can be used to pay employees without bank accounts. All they need is a cell phone number, making it a cheaper and more secure option than to pay staff than withdrawing large amounts of cash.
We launched SimplyBlu to make it easier for business to participate in online trade. This offering allows entrepreneurs to set up an e-commerce platform and accept payments through a secure mechanism for a nominal fee.
Meanwhile BizFlex, an industry-first lending solution designed for SMEs, featuring flexible repayments was launched. BizFlex allows businesses to repay as they earn revenue at a cost that is fixed and guaranteed upfront. While existing loan application processes prove onerous, a BizFlex loan is available digitally and is paid out within hours. BizFlex offers SMEs lending that is as flexible as their businesses.
These efforts demonstrate Standard Bank’s ongoing effort to help SMEs in tackling everyday business challenges by providing them with tangible banking solutions to help grow and sustain their businesses.