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Ina Opperman | 22 October 2023

SMEs will get help with business strategy and skills development, as well as improved access to funding for businesses.

MTN Is planning to offer substantial support to SMEs through its MTN Xlerator, MTN South Africa’s enterprise supplier development (ESD) programme that plans to increase its procurement spend by R4 billion over two years with 51% black-owned SMMEs.

According to MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi, the programme plans to double the number of SMMEs on its supplier.

MTN chose SME financing fintech, Payabill, as one of the finance partners for its Xlerator programme. Payabill provides simple access to funding to South African SMEs and will feature alongside other selected lenders and banks in MTN’s programme.

SMEs hate banks’ onerous credit requirements

For Payabill, MTN is another partner to achieve its objectives in giving South Africa’s SMEs a chance to compete and grow.

Managing cash flow is a real challenge for SMEs across sectors and Payabill was founded to assist those businesses that do not have sufficient funds to buy stock, assets or services from suppliers who demand cash up front.

The startup targets SMEs with annual revenue of between R500 000 and R30 million, offering them working and other capital to grow their businesses. It offers various forms of finance including local and international trade finance, as well as asset finance.

“Small businesses are neglected by banks and other lenders due to high perceived credit risk and associated costs of assessment and collection. SMEs see these lenders as having onerous credit requirements to keep them out. Payabill is welcoming, quick and easy to deal with and can provide funding in hours due to its bespoke credit methodology,” said Payabill CEO, Eli Michal.

Who qualifies?

The MTN ESD programme is open to SMMEs that have been in operation for at least six months, are at least 51% black-owned, achieve an annual turnover of up to R500 million and have daily operations that black managers in key positions manage

“MTN Xlerator is a symbol of our unwavering commitment to progress, innovation and empowerment. We believe in the enormous, unearthed potential within South Africa,” said Molapisi.

“At MTN, we believe in the evolution of empowerment and our goal is to transition from a transaction-based supply chain to a values-based one, ensuring everyone enjoys the benefits of a connected world while building a better tomorrow.”

Payabill ‘takes risks where it matters’

Michal said Payabill takes risks where it matters: At the coalface of South Africa’s businesses by helping smaller businesses that have little security and struggle to get funding.

“We pay suppliers when sales are not yet guaranteed and take risks where no one else would consider it. We want to help those businesses locked out of the market at a time when local businesses need all the support they can get.”

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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