A client survey conducted at the onset of the national lockdown by Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) - one of Africa's leading risk finance companies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) - revealed just how dire and widespread this sentiment was, with 95% of respondents stating that their business would be unable to survive the following three-to-six months without additional assistance.
One such BUSINESS/PARTNERS client was Reshan Myasur, a franchisee that operates three different takeaway food outlets. To assist Myasur, and roughly 770 other clients that were financially impacted by COVID-19, Jeremy Lang, Regional General Manger at BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says the company offered various tailored relief packages. “We heard our valued clients' call for assistance loud and clear and worked tirelessly at the onset of the lockdown to offer relief during these unprecedented times."
This relief, Lang says, was offered in various forms to clients whose accounts were in good standing prior to the impact of COVID-19. “Firstly, BUSINESS/PARTNERS offered a Repayment Relief Programme to clients for four months, effective May, June, July and August 2020, with full repayments only expected from September. Through this Programme, clients were given options, based on their current financial and cash flow circumstances. To date, we have approved 645 applications for our Repayment Relief Programme."
In addition to the Repayment Relief Programme, BUSINESS/PARTNERS also offered a Financial Assistance Programme capitalised at R100 million to clients. “Clients that required additional financial assistance over this difficult time, were able to apply for assistance of up to R750 000. To date, BUSINESS/PARTNERS has approved 125 applications to the value of R58 million through the Financial Assistance Programme. Repayment on the relief loan facility is only expected from November 2020," says Lang.
For business owners like Myasur, this relief and assistance has not gone unnoticed. “Their name says it all," says Myasur, referring to BUSINESS/PARTNERS. “They are real partners in every sense of the word and I am grateful for their support. They are always there to listen and they completely understand small business. In addition they provide advice when things get tough and you need business advice."
Acknowledging that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for so many South African business owners, Lang ensures that BUSINESS/PARTNERS will continue to do all that they can to support the well-being of not only their clients, but also the broader SME community. “The ongoing lockdown – while less stringent than it once was – is still placing severe pressure on not only the economy and businesses, but also the many people who these businesses provide employment to.
“We hope that by providing our clients with this necessary relief, they have been able to avoid as many retrenchments as possible, allowing more South Africans to maintain their jobs and livelihoods over this incredibly challenging period," Lang concludes.