Retail Capital injects R500m into economy through Covid-relief for SMEs

Meghann Showers

© Provided by 702 Small business funder Retail Capital asks businesses to see it as their partner in growth. It provides funding and asset finance alternatives to traditional small business loans. This has been a lifeline for some local outfits during the chaos […]



a person sitting at a table


© Provided by 702


Small business funder Retail Capital asks businesses to see it as their partner in growth.

It provides funding and asset finance alternatives to traditional small business loans.

This has been a lifeline for some local outfits during the chaos caused by the pandemic and resultant lockdown – the company says it’s poured R500 million into the economy through its SME relief measures.




a man and a woman sitting at a table


© Provided by CapeTalk


Arabile Gumede (in for The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield) interviews Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig.

In April, 90% of our business owners weren’t trading and we didn’t collect against them at all, so we gave them relief for that period of time. That’s roughly about R300 million.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

As they’ve come back online, we then funded them to get them going again, give them stock and give them working capital.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

Many of these business had to cut back expenses, cut back staff, cut back suppliers… There’s a knock-on effect throughout the economy…

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

Westvig says the businesses that benefited from this relief are now, on average, back to 80% of pre-Covid trade levels.

This is tied to the sectors they operate in.

There are some sectors that are actually outperforming – things like the electronics sector, the house and home sector… The building sector has been phenomenal…

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

But then you have your restaurant sector and your health and beauty that are still struggling and significantly down on pre-Covid levels.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

He points out that many SMEs don’t qualify to claim for UIF and Ters benefits.

There’s been very little support for these SME business owners. We tend to fund the below-R10 million a year SME businesses which have largely been ignored.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

The government R200 billion guarantee scheme through the banks has largely been aimed at the medium-sized business and not the small businesses.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

Westvig adds that, unlike government funding, Retail Capital’s relief is not restrictive – businesses can choose how they spend the money.

You can’t dictate that to the business owner. What we have seen is a massive amount of innovation.

Karl Westvig, CEO – Retail Capital

Westvig also details how businesses can qualify for Retail Capital assistance. Listen to the audio below:

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