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Fintech to help SMEs weather loadshedding storm

Lulalend has reinstated its SME Loadshedding Task Force as Eskom once again takes South Africa to Stage 4 of its rotational load shedding strategy. The state-owned power utility has cited an inability to replenish reserves alongside scheduled maintenance and equipment failure as reasons for the latest electricity restrictions.

Lulalend typically sees a spike in bridging finance applications from the SME sector in line with the severity and length of the loadshedding schedule.

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“By setting up our emergency response task force, we are now able to prioritise any applications when the applicant tells us it’s load shedding-related,” says Lulalend CEO Trevor Gosling.

Under normal circumstances, funding applications are processed by Lulalend within 24 hours. The emergency task force will, however, fast-track the process further to provide an almost instant response for businesses that are severely affected by Eskom’s power interruptions.

Is your business eligible?

South African businesses with an annual turnover of R500 000 or more, and that have been in business for at least one year, are eligible to apply. Applicants can apply for bridging finance amounts of up to R2 million.

The application process is done online via the Lulalend website. Applicants need to flag that they are applying due to interruptions caused by loadshedding to be placed on the emergency priority list.

Avoid being a loadshedding victim

Small businesses need to start looking at workarounds to lessen the impact of load shedding. Gosling says there are several things that small businesses can do in the interim to mitigate the fallout from loadshedding:

  • Break up the workload. If you only have a limited number of hours a day – spread the important tasks across team members so that they get accomplished in time.
  • Invest in surge protectors for your appliances, machinery and hardware. Small surge protectors that are sold in the supermarket will do the trick to keep your PC, fridge, coffee machine and other small appliances from blowing when the power surges back after loadshedding. For industrial-size equipment, it’s best to get advice from a trustworthy electrician.
  • Talk to Lulalend about bridging and asset finance.
  • If you run a shop, invest in a mobile point of sale solution so that you can continue to accept card payments when the power is off.
  • Backup all systems and important data to the cloud and on an external hard drive. It’s easy to lose documentation and vital information if it’s not saved and backed up in time.
  • Consider investing in a generator. If it’s difficult to find extra cash,
  • Ensure you have fast access to additional working capital to ensure your business can survive any revenue dips that load shedding may cause.

Featured image by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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