In this edition of the Business Day Spotlight, we talk about the ways in which businesses affected by the recent violence and looting in SA can be helped to get back on their feet.

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Vusi Thembekwayo, CEO MyGrowthFund Venture Partners.

Back in July, parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were ravaged by violent protests, vandalism and looting. By some estimates more than 800 retail stores were looted, resulting in over R5bn worth of damage just in that sector, while costing the national economy about R50bn.

In the informal economy, about 50,000 business are said to have been affected by the unrest.

Following the devastating losses to many small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME), venture firm MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, together with banking and financial services group Sasfin, have partnered to launch a R350m debt fund “to assist these businesses and, in doing so, boost the SA economy.”

Thembekwayo says debt funding is a good tool to help businesses to move past the setbacks of the past year and a half, detailing the impact of Covid-19 on the small business sector, how their fund aims to address some of the gaps, and the difficulty still faced by entrepreneurs in accessing funding.

Discussion points include how the partnership between the two companies came about; reasons why the two parties think a debt facility is a good way to address challenges now being faced by affected businesses; thoughts  around what it will take to rebuild confidence following the unrest; numbers and statistics illustrating the contribution of small businesses to SA’s economy, as well as the current health of the sector;  and an examination of the funding landscape in SA.