Dear iKhokha Merchant,
It’s been over a month since the civil unrest that shook our nation. It was a week that marked some of the darkest days for small businesses in our country’s history. Across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, entrepreneurs watched on helplessly as their livelihoods were dismantled with callous destruction.
We cannot change what happened. It is now a part of history and grim reminder of how far we still need to travel as South Africans towards a prosperous and equal society.
And yet, even in tragedy, entrepreneurs have proved to be resilient and resolute as they set about rebuilding their businesses and legacies.
From our outreach into communities around KZN, we have uncovered stories filled with hope and optimism, a true testament to the unbreakable South African spirit.
We met an entrepreneur from Wyebank whose factory store in Springfield was devastated by the looting. Rather than giving up, she opened a second store in Hillcrest to continue to run her business. Once her store in Springfield is repaired and restocked, she’ll have two stores. It’s an amazing story of growth in the face of adversity.
Another entrepreneur from the Waterfall area, who runs a boutique clothing store for local fashion designers, spoke with pride of how the community came to her aid to help her get back on her feet. Stories such as these give us real comfort and hope, both as entrepreneurs and South Africans.
At iKhokha, we’ve been doing what we can to help our merchant base speed up their recovery.
Since the crisis, we’ve extended R14 million worth of iK Cash Advance to our merchants to give them the working capital they need to recover. We’ve also loaded over R100 000 in iKash into iK Wallets free of charge to enable impacted merchants to sell prepaid products with iK Prepaid.
In the first week after the disaster, we replaced over 80 damaged card machines at no extra cost. Now, after raising additional funding, we are replacing an additional 200 devices, one of which now belongs to you. We’ve also made it easier for all iKhokha merchants to access an iK Cash Advance. If you’re in need of capital, please view your iKhokha app to find out more.
We are in the final stages of negotiating with our partners and shareholders to offer our merchants additional cash grants to help them rebuild. If you’d like to be eligible to receive one of these grants, please join the Rebuild Mzansi group on Facebook. It’s a group of entrepreneurs who are committed to networking and helping each other revitalise our economy.
In the pack you received, you’ll find a Rebuild Mzansi sticker with a QR code. I encourage you to stick this up in a visible area in your store and encourage fellow entrepreneurs to join the group by scanning the code with a smartphone. I truly believe that we’ll get through this and come out stronger on the other side if we continue to work together.
Thank you for your continued kindness and support.
CEO & Co-founder of iKhokha