Barloworld's Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) vehicle, Siyakhula, launched a remarkable R2 million Loadshedding Stimulus Relief programme in June 2023 to assist SMMEs in keeping their businesses open and operating.
As COVID-19 releases its grip on South Africa, the nation braces itself to withstand a dark era ahead that has the potential to shatter the equilibrium of lives and the very bedrock of communities in which small business owners operate. Slowly, we managed to emerge from the haze of the pandemic, yet just as we regain momentum, we find ourselves being thrust into the depths of a new crisis that threatens our livelihoods—loadshedding.
According to analysts, loadshedding costs South Africa over R4 billion a day, automatically increasing the operating costs of SMMEs and reducing their profits, leading to widespread job losses. For one's business to continue operating, small business owners must invest in generators, power banks, inverters and UPS power supplies.
Siyakhula introduced the Stimulus Relief Package, setting aside R2 million to offer a lifeline to struggling ESD beneficiaries in their programme, contending with the ramifications of load shedding. Siyakhula appointed 24Fix Solar, a 100% black-female owned company specializing in alternative power supplies with the slogan "Women Empower Women Inpower". Given the responsibility to assess the requirements of each beneficiary, 24Fix Solar undertook an intensive assessment process and thereafter supplied tailor-made solutions to assist beneficiaries. Since the roll out of the relief programme in June 2023, eight beneficiaries have been identified and instillations on six of the beneficiaries have been completed, with the final two currently in progress.
"Our commitment to economic inclusion and transformation goes beyond the tick-box requirements of the B-BBEE codes. We are committed to doing work that matters and offer real and practical solutions to assist entrepreneurs, ensuring that no one is left behind. We need to empower them so that they can contribute meaningfully to addressing some of the other socio-economic challenges we face as a country, such as high unemployment rates". Prudence Gololo, Managing Director Barloworld Siyakhula.
Through the ESD programme, Barloworld Siyakhula offers financial and non-financial support to its beneficiaries helping them to access funding, market access opportunities, mentorship and advisory support services to build and grow their business. Since inception in 2005, over 200 beneficiaries have been supported and more than R500 million has been invested.
Josephine Malakoane, a dedicated female entrepreneur and founder of Basadi Automotive Group, expressed her appreciation for the loadshedding relief support that she received from Siyakhula.
"We, at Basadi Automotive Group would like to thank Barloworld Siyakhula for the support and the generous contribution made to helping our business in this technology-driven era.
Our work relies heavily on software and mobile apps. We simply cannot afford to have our laptop and cell phone batteries die on us. We are so grateful for the 5KVA inverter installation that includes a lithium battery backup system. This helps us stay connected to assist our most valuable customers during loadshedding and to attend to roadside emergencies that take place when there is no electricity.
Thank you for believing in our business".
"If we are to ever see the real light again then South Africans need to join hands, work together but also, individually, play our part. Keep doing the work that changes lives". Prudence Gololo, Managing Director Barloworld Siyakhula.