South Africa entrepreneurs get online access to 200 lenders

Did you know that there is a website where small business owners who are looking for funding are connected to 200 lenders? They can also access government grants through the site.

online entrepreneurs lenders
The Finfind Easy website was created to meet the needs of small business owners who are looking for funding and the 200 lenders who are looking for entrepreneurs to whom they can lend money. (Image: Melissa Javan)

Melissa Javan
There were 200 lenders in South Africa and the majority of people who were looking for funding did not even know this, said Darlene Menzies, CEO of Finfind Easy. Menzies was one of the speakers at the ninth annual National Small Business Chamber Summit.

The summit was held on 15 and 16 February 2017. Menzies’ topic was “How to access more than 200 lenders for start-up and growth finance for your small business”.

“Fast track your business”
Topics discussed in summit sessions included “Rethink marketing for the digital age” and “Go global and grow your business”.

Attendees showed much interest in sessions such as “Fast-track your business with social media”, filling the conference rooms to overflowing. Many sat on the floor to listen to speakers such as Leanne Rhodes. She talked about marketing your business on social media.

According to the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), 32,127 people had registered for the two-day conference by 7 February. Of them, 14,806 were existing business owners and 17,321 were about to start a business. Attendees also had access for example to the a business expo hosted at the summit.

Access to funding wanted
Menzies talked about the NSBC’s survey released last year, in which more than 10,000 business owners took part. It asked entrepreneurs what the NSBC could focus on more. “The number one answer (was) access to finance. The survey also said that the majority of the people who applied for funding last year went to banks and the government.”

The challenge of most entrepreneurs was that they did not know about other lenders, she said.

Hundreds of lending products available
According to Menzies, there are 350 lending products in South Africa. “A lot of these lenders do not meet their KPIs (key performance indicators) because they are struggling to find SMMEs to whom they can lend.

“They receive large volumes of loan applications, but only find a small percentage to lend to. They have a shortage of viable ideas. They’re lending to get a return,” she said. “They need to finance ready and bankable businesses.”

Finfind Easy, she explained, was a website that connected entrepreneurs who were looking for funding with lenders. It was free and easy to use. The initiative is sponsored by USAid, the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Department of Small Business Development. The site was updated daily, and included government grants and loan offerings.

“It’s the only website of its kind in the country. We already have 5,000 users.”

There were 64 funds available for starting a business, 109 funds available for growing a start-up, 26 funds available for completing a contract, 73 funds available for buying equipment, and 180 funds available for expanding a business, Menzies said.

It meets your needs
The site asked questions of the user such as “How much do you need, how long have you run your business, what is the funding for, and what is your average turnover?”

And there were no right or wrong answers. “If you are not profitable, there are funds for you. If you don’t have all the documents, the system will help you,” Menzies said. “Your company number is needed.”

Small business owners could also learn about finance on the website, for example the different types of lenders and the different types of finance available.

You can access the website, here.

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material