In 2017 a group of seven young entrepreneurs saw a gap in the freight forwarding and customs clearing space and the business was born. M6T’s is a 100% black-owned and 36% black woman-owned business.
Its core values of authenticity, hard work, service orientation and flexibility have helped M6T remain focused, and the business is community-inspired, with 1% of profits going to CSI projects through the M6T Foundation.
Mpho Masemola, M6T’s Finance Manager, shared the experience of running a small business during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we started, we only had enough capital to secure premises, second-hand office furniture, industry-related software and a basic ICT infrastructure. This was obviously a short-term solution, and sooner or later more working capital would be needed,” Masemola saild.
In December 2019, M6T decided to approach VodaLend, after a partner had heard about its products in a radio interview. What an inspired decision this was.
The digital process was smooth and within 48 hours they had the R250,000 funding they needed.
“We were good to go. Just having made it this far is an inspiring entrepreneurial journey, but it didn’t end there. Four months later COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown arrived. No business plan could have predicted this,” said Masemola.
A six-week shut down
Everything suddenly changed. Borders and major trade lanes were closed. Most of the goods M6T transports weren’t considered essential, so they had to shut their offices for six weeks, with little activity and only management working from home.
Masemola explains the impact, “When lockdown restrictions were eased at Level 4, we returned to the office with some of our customers also reopening.
Fortunately, our small size allowed us to absorb the blow without suffering much significant damage compared to the bigger players in our sector.”
Digital business funding with a human touch
“VodaLend was a godsend! People have the perception that there’s no funding for small businesses, but VodaLend is there and has a simple process. They showed their human side too during the COVID pandemic and offered us a three-month payment holiday because our revenue had decreased as a result of reduced volumes in international trade,” said Masemola.
Quintin van Vuuren, Executive Head of VodaLend explained, “Given the weakened economy as a result of the pandemic, many businesses had their resilience tested by having to work with restricted budgets and limited access to credit while navigating local and international economic challenges beyond their control.”
Small businesses that were geared for success suddenly hit a brick wall.
Today, they are in for an enormous uphill battle. In a world where companies are closing and salaries are disappearing, we are once again looking to innovation and technological solutions to re-invent financing solutions.
Get the support your business needs today
SMEs operating in today’s world, require easy online funding applications, faster turn-around times on application approvals and the ability for the business owner to access the cash they need quickly and with minimal effort.
VodaLend from Vodacom Financial Services offers businesses an ecosystem of convenient digital finance solutions that are specifically designed to be flexible, affordable and accessible to more people than ever before.
All applications are digital which means we can deliver quickly, effectively and adapt according to your needs.
This article was published in partnership with VodaLend.