The role of the Business Advisor has never been more important to ensure the survival and growth of small businesses, in these unprecedented times. It is with this mindset, that IBASA rolls out its COVID- 19 SUPPORT programme for small businesses, whereby mentorship and business advice will be provided by graded business advisors to all distressed businesses.

Tumelo Tsotetsi, National IBASA ChairmanIBASA has proposed mentoring clients to mitigate against loan defaults, nationally, by offering to provide services in remote areas, where the corporate or government agencies may not have a footprint. This has the potential to reduce turnaround time and to create more of an inclusive economy, particularly for businesses based in rural towns. This is a call for all corporates that have Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes. In addition, for funding agencies (Public and Private) to partner with IBASA and assist in providing post-loan mentoring support to successful loan applicants, and to support SMME’s that are experiencing distress.

IBASA will initially fund the programme supporting and assisting small business owners at no cost to rebuild their businesses. However, any other partnership funding received, will assist the COVID-19 support scheme to continue. Businesses will receive a diagnostic analysis, revisiting their business models and ensuring strict financial controls are in place. Beneficiary criteria include all sectors of the economy, all ‘For Profit’ SMMEs legitimately operating in South Africa; businesses that have been trading for a minimum period of one year and is for all entrepreneurs, irrespective of race. Non-profit companies and illicit businesses will not be able to apply.

The partnership would also provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation, provide impact reporting to demonstrate the programme’s efficacy, and demonstrate return on investment. IBASA has about 400 South African individual and corporate members with first-hand knowledge of the needs of SMMEs, that can result in additional revenue opportunities for partners.

“Beyond SMME’s that have sought funding relief, there are also a multitude of applicants that need to reposition their businesses in this new dawn or ‘New Normal’ of COVID-19.  This is one of the reasons that IBASA aims to assist all small businesses that are currently in distress,” said National IBASA Chairman, Tumelo Tsotetsi.

He added that it is critical that funders recognise the role that mentors can play, to fast track the recovery of the economy. Provision of funding and mentorship has proven to develop and grow sustainable businesses.

“Severely impacted by global COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, South African businesses face dire ongoing challenges during the lockdown. To weather the storm of little or no economic activity during this time, many SMMEs have resorted to accessing ‘Soft Loans’, made available through funding options like banks, government agencies, philanthropic institutions etc.

This short term solution may not be enough to ensure the sustainability of the businesses, who face many unknowns during and post lockdown in the country,” he said.

A key factor to assist SMMEs in mitigating potential loan defaults, is the provision of mentorship and business advising. IBASA, is a 20-year-old professional membership organisation that comprises of 2008 local and international business advisors, with national representation. IBASA business advisors are graded according to their expertise, experience, and qualifications, and have the requisite skills and competencies to guide small businesses through these challenging times.

IBASA is well positioned, given its national footprint, to provide an extension desk for both government agencies; where IBASA Business Advisors could assist SMMEs administratively with application forms, confirming their eligibility and compliance before the application is submitted to the funding agency.

Be part of this initiative, and help to rebuild the economy in a responsible, inclusive manner.

Partnership enquiries, call KZN IBASA Chair and Board member, Brian Moodley on 083 450 1782, email: kznchair@ibasa.org.za or email Lesego Mokwena (IBASA Head office), lesego@ibasa.org.za, to schedule a more detailed discussion.