Nearly every small and medium-sized retailer in South Africa knows what it’s like to miss out on a special bulk pricing promotion from a supplier or lose the chance to stock up because it cannot access the financing it needs to grab the opportunity. Indeed, a 2020 PWC survey found that 22% of business owners ranked access to funding as their largest challenge.

Yet the growth funding picture has changed in South Africa over the past few years as new financial technology players have come to market to address the financing gap, says Steven Heilbron, CEO of the Connect Group. Many retailers are not aware that these platforms make it quick and easy for them to access opportunity capital via the Internet or a mobile app, he adds. 

Alternatives to traditional loans

“There is still a perception in the market that the bank is the only safe and credible option for a merchant that needs access to working capital,” adds Heilbron. “However, there are agile, technology-enabled lenders who enable merchants to access funding fast when they can’t spend hours filling in forms or wait for weeks for their application to be granted.” 

Heilbron says these new players are able to offer business finance without the fuss—reducing the amount of information required, the time taken for capital approval as well as the complexity of paperwork.

Heilbron says: “Today’s fintech solutions are designed for the fast-paced retail industry, where getting finance within 24 hours rather than a week or more could spell the difference between seizing or losing a valuable trading opportunity. They are also hassle-free, with no need to submit audited financials or other documentation.” 

Loans via an app 

Applying is as easy as downloading an app, registering a profile and then the borrower can choose their loan amount, repayment period and view the daily instalment that will suit their pocket. Funds may be deposited within hours of the loan application, allowing a merchant to capitalise on the business opportunities at hand. 

“Covid-19 has disrupted business as usual, and it has become more important than ever for businesses to be flexible and innovative. Working capital, as offered by Capital Connect provide merchants with quick access to cash flow which enables business growth in the retail landscape. With access to the right financing solutions, retailers can stay ahead of the game and navigate a dynamic market,” concludes Heilbron.