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PMB business does its bit to help struggling SMMEs

The fund has been established to try to avoid scenes like this. Picture: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Major Pietermaritzburg based company, The Willowton Group, along with Al Baraka Bank, are making a sizable contribution to help SMMEs struggling as a result of the national lockdown restrictions.

Last month President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed a national lockdown to help stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus, which has thus far claimed at least 25 lives in SA, with thousands of infections.

With a number of industries severely affected and some ordered to halt operations altogether, businesses, particularly SMMEs, have been hard hit, some struggling to survive.

In a post on its Twitter account, the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business shared the initiative by Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank to establish a sizable trust to help those in business distress and try to protect jobs.

“The Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank are set to create a lifeline for SMMEs with the establishment of a charitable trust, the Giving For Hope Foundation (GFHF), which will assist SMMEs impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. They are providing R100m initial funding towards a R500m proposed fund.”

It said the initial funds were made up of a combined loan of R85m from The Willowton Group and its shareholders, R10m from Al Baraka Bank and R5m from the South African Muslim Charitable Trust. Businesses are urged to commit loans to the fund in a bid to raise R500m within the next few weeks.

“Commitment by funders must be made by the end of April,” it said.

How’re you surviving life under lockdown?

The funds will be split into small loans which will be effective for two years. Businesses will only need to begin to repay the loans in 12 monthly instalments, after the first year.

“The fund will be administered by Al Baraka Bank and the loan will be interest free, profit free and on an admin-cost free basis. The loans will be open to all SMMEs irrespective of sector, race, gender or religion, but not for passive-income type enterprises or alcohol and gambling-related business.”

Loan applications will be accepted from April 15. To find out more or to make an application, click here

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How’re you surviving life under lockdown