Informal micro-enterprises are among those whose businesses have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, with nearly two thirds of these businesses stating that they are not performing well after lockdown, according to a recent Ipsos South Africa survey. In response, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is partnering with Juntos Global and Nedbank to provide 9,000 micro-enterprises with free business and financial literacy training to help them to build resilience, adopt digital financial services and grow their businesses.
The training programme will be delivered to informal micro-enterprises across the country, using Juntos Global’s award-winning automated conversational platform. The tailored training will be delivered in weekly modules via SMS, covering a range of topics critical to business growth and financial security, such as recordkeeping, increasing earnings, and the benefits of digital payments.
“Micro and small businesses are the backbone of our economy. When they suffer, we all suffer. At Mastercard, we understand the challenges these enterprises face and are deeply committed to not only help these entrepreneurs survive but thrive during this challenging time. Partnering for good is what we do best, and this collaboration is one more way we enable sustainable, inclusive growth that will not only benefit these entrepreneurs, but their families and communities too,” said Natasha Jamal, Regional Director, Middle East and Africa, at Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.
“Digital financial services are a critical tool to grow business, increase revenue and deliver a delightful client experience at lower costs, but lack of access to formal banking tools and understanding of financial products limits small businesses’ opportunity for growth. Our collaboration with Mastercard and Juntos is great news for South Africa’s informal traders who are often left on the side-lines of the formal economy. This is an extended offering to spaza shop owners and general dealers who participated in the grant scheme launched earlier this year in partnership with Department of Small Business Development. With new business skills and opportunities to access financial services, the benefits of a digital economy are within reach and will unlock addition value for this market,” said Lizzy Mogale, Strategy Executive & Township Economy Lead, Nedbank Retail and Business Banking.
As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mastercard has pledged $250 million in financial, technology, product, and insights support over the next five years to small businesses across the globe, supporting the financial security and vitality of businesses and their workers. Earlier this year, Mastercard expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of one billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.