Sunday, April 21, 2024
Startups in Africa

Retail Capital is Boosting the Growth of Small-scale Businesses in South Africa

Retail Capital is a technology firm that operates as a data and analytics company. The Company provides a marketplace platform that leverages data science and analytics to improve the speed, cost and choices of capital available to small businesses.

The company was founded in 2011 by Karl Westwig with the basic aim of identifying the potential of small businesses and working with them in making their goals become a reality. The company provides SME businesses with an alternative to bank loans.

Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”

“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media, even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” Westwig says.

He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach and that’s where social media comes in.”

Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants.

This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.

“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realize their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.

Recognising the value and importance that SMEs play in the growth of the economy, collectively contributing 50%-60% to GDP, Retail Capital is continually gives SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000 through a summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.

While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”

“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.

But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”

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