The previous weeks have shown just how much the small business community stands behind its fellow entrepreneurs, with donations continuing to pour in for those in need of relief. One company has pledged over R1-million to assist small businesses, and another company has enabled large corporations to connect with SMMEs in dire need following the lockdown and civil unrest in parts of the country.
Nahana Communications Group has pledged to donate R1.4-million to small businesses that were devastated by looting. It is a group of marketing agencies that develop creative solutions for business problems. R400,000 will be set aside to assist community radio stations. The rest of the money will be reserved for small businesses in different sectors.
The group has also encouraged its employees to nominate a business in their community that they believe deserves assistance. Group CEO Brett Morris said that their purpose was to rebuild South Africa. “South Africa and its people continue to show amazing unity and generosity in the face of adversity and business has an important role to play as corporate citizens,” he said.
Morris also said community radio stations formed a critical part of the media mix in South Africa and offered an essential service to the community. “We felt it was important to help these great stations get back on air as soon as possible,” he said.
It had already purchased essential radio transmission equipment to KwaZulu-Natal-based Intokozo FM. Digital company One Linkage has opened its cloud-based digital tool services to SMMEs affected by the recent unrest, connecting them with larger companies that can provide them with assistance. It includes infrastructure support, funding, mentorship and also psychological assistance.
Companies like Sasol have committed to the cause as well. One Linkage CEO Hepsy Mkhungo said that the broader benefit was helping the economy to recover from the setbacks caused by the unrest. “The sustainability of any big business depends on its value chain. Unfortunately, the unrest has destabilised most value chains in South Africa,” she said.
Mkhungo said that SMMEs could register on their platform and follow a process that would possibly connect them to a corporate entity according to requirements. “Once a complete profile has been submitted, a high-level vetting process will be conducted by our sister company Zevoli at no cost to any party. Registration is open to all small businesses with revenue of less than R50-million a year,” she said.
“The recent civil unrest coupled with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for many South African businesses,” Sasol chief procurement officer Lebelo Lukhele said. “This partnership allows us to demonstrate the spirit of ubuntu along with the power of digital platforms and innovation in the face of adversity.”