SA fintech’s billion Rand initiative for small business resilience

  • KwaZulu-Natal-based fintech firm iKhokha says it has now provided R2 billion in loan funding to SMEs across the country.
  • This milestone was hit as the company digital financial technology is better suited for the needs of SMEs, as compared with traditional banks.
  • In 2023 iKhokha won the MTN App of the Year Award for best financial solution.

Amid a dour South African economy, small business and markets are more frequently turning to dynamic and digital platforms for funding. Today KwaZulu-Natal-based fintech iKhokha announced that it has granted a total of R2 billion in working capital funding to small businesses across South Africa who applied for loans.

In a release sent to Hypertext, iKhokha CEO and co-founder Matt Putman says that the company’s research indicates that 80 percent of the small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that it has funded would otherwise struggle to access loans through traditional banking.

“Therefore we are stimulating the part of the market that needs it most,” he says. iKhokha’s research is backed up by a 2020 report from McKinsey and Company, which asserts that South Africa’s SMEs – vital for the economy – struggle to gain funding from traditional banks because the banks are yet to fully digitise and cannot offer capital funding at scale.

It makes sense why iKhokha then is able to better suit the needs of SMEs, especially as it provides funding through a partnership with TymeBank division Retail Capital. TymeBank is South Africa’s first fully digital bank.

“[This] accomplishment not only fuels economic growth but also highlights the value of strong partnerships to provide vital support to entrepreneurs navigating funding challenges in a tough economic landscape,” enthused Miguel Da Silva, Managing Executive at Retail Capital.

Many South African customers may have seen iKhokha-branded yellow and black card machines at merchants across the country. The fintech also offers online payment support, working capital, and business management tools such as analytics. In 2023 it won the MTN App of the Year Award for best financial solution.

“The underserved self-employed sector of South Africa plays such a vital role in stimulating our economy and helping to bridge the unemployment gap. Their continued growth is fundamental if we want to see our economy grow. We will continue to help entrepreneurs and SMEs to believe in better business by investing in our SME-focused financial services platform to expose more local SMEs to the digital economy,” Putman concludes.

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