Nedbank initiative aims to uplift entrepreneurs, side hustlers and informal traders

7th September 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Finance institution Nedbank is bringing together some of its most impactful programmes, as well as those of its partners, to support, grow and inspire entrepreneurs and small businesses in the informal sector under the ‘Together, Beke le Beke’ initiative.

This initiative will see entrepreneurs and small businesses, many of whom were hardest hit by the pandemic and the July unrest that impacted parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, receive support in the form of funding, mentorship and guidance on essential business skills.

At 34.4%, South Africa’s unemployment rate is at its highest ever level and, according to data from the September 2020 National Income Dynamics Study, two-thirds of the three-million jobs lost in South Africa in the first two quarters of 2020 were held by women.

Nedbank Retail and Business Banking marketing executive head Buli Ndlovu says the initiative will focus on supporting female entrepreneurs or small businesses in which women own at least 50%. 

“Although it is the most vulnerable to changes in the economy, the informal sector has historically been the least adequately served by the financial sector in the past.

“While certain specialised programmes have been developed by the industry, these have been largely unstructured. Entrepreneurs and small businesses need much more integrated, multifaceted solutions to recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19 and the recent unrest,” Ndlovu says.

As part of the initiative, Nedbank is partnering with programmes to fund a rebuild.

This includes the Informal Traders Support Programme – a partnership with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, which is making one-off grants to the total value of R40-million available to informal traders whose businesses were looted or vandalised in the July unrest, to restart their businesses, refurbish infrastructure and restock supplies.

There is also the Proud of My Town – a Nedbank-funded holistic community transformation initiative in partnership with urban planning social enterprise, Ranyaka Community Transformation, which is implementing a relief and recovery intervention to assist businesses get back on their feet.

Moreover, there is the fund-a-business idea. This includes the Side Hustle – a daily grant and skills development programme to help aspiring entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition, in partnership with The Slow Fund.

The ‘Together, Beke le Beke’ initiative is already under way and the process of identifying entrepreneurs, side hustlers and informal traders to benefit from personalised grants, mentorship opportunities and skills training has begun.