BusinessThought leadership
    15 November 2021


    A new era of digital funding dawns

    The digital funding landscape has evolved rapidly, driven by agile technology, extensive use of alternative data sources and the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many SMMEs to seek emergency funding to stay alive.

    For many SMMEs, agile finance through traditional banking routes remains cumbersome and slow because these funding models rely heavily on proof of creditworthiness, access to audited financial statements, board resolutions, guarantees and lengthy approval procedures involving face-to-face interviews. 

    I’m proud to be part of the new digital funding era which is dawning, as our work at Vodacom Financial Service is truly making business finance more accessible to everyone. Through our offerings small business can now take advantage of funding through a digital platform, giving businesses an ecosystem of convenient digital financial solutions which can be applied for online. In the digital funding space, a typical process involves making a simple online application. Applicants receive approval in less than 24 hours. 

    This cuts through time and the need for complex annual financial statements. Registered businesses are simply required to have a track record of consistent trading and a minimum turnover level to access finance. (Our VodaLend Business Advance product, for example, requires that SMMEs are in business for a minimum of 12 months and have an annual turnover of R500 000 and above, to qualify).  This means faster funding decisions for businesses – big and small - less paperwork, and an end-to-end digital process. From application to the disbursement, collections and reporting - all of this is done in a matter of hours completely at the convenience of the SMME.

    It excites me to work in the transformative world of digital at Vodacom Financial Services where we have access to rich data because of our relationship with Vodacom. This allows us to do a lot of innovative thinking as well as offer responsible finance solutions. 

    We’re in a new era where digital business funding is rapidly transforming the SMME sector, particularly, in South Africa. We are seeing innovative new business models pop up because funds are available quickly and SMME’s can be agile and provide customers with what they want and need, when they want it. Plus, we are keeping many small businesses alive through our bridging finance options when previously they would have been forced to close.

    This fuels my passion for financial inclusion because we’re finding ways to adapt our funding to meet any business requirements. Plus, another advantage for SMMEs is that they receive assistance and support beyond just extending finance. This includes both financial and technical advice. This digitisation of small businesses is a process that will ultimately make the sector stronger, bigger and able to create more jobs in the economy.

     - Mariam Cassim, Chief Officer: Financial and Digital Services at Vodacom Group

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