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Zakhaa, a Buy Now Pay Later Platform Launches to Empower SMEs in SA

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Teboho Twala, a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Johannesburg, an honours degree in business administration from Milpark Business School with an ongoing Masters in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation at Wits Business School in Park town has launched Zakhaa to help empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Originally from Qwaqwa and based in Rustenberg, Teboho noticed a pervasive challenge among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) around his community – an overwhelming number of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, vendors, butchery and shop owners and many other small business owners were grappling with an effective mechanism to address customer debt and tracking outstanding payments, which in turn hampered their small businesses from making money or growing.

He therefore launched Zakhaa, a buy now, pay later platform to empower SMEs, enabling them to conduct business more efficiently and effectively. The platform provides tools and resources tailored to overcome the complexities of managing customer debt for small businesses to thrive and expand.

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SME customers would ask for services or products and promise to pay part of or all the money due by end of the month which they never do and there is no collateral that a small business owner can rely on. This lack of trust and payment records costing small business owners to lose money because they lack a tracking system that monitors their incoming payments and customers end up not paying. Teboho Twala saw a need to formalise this relationship between small business owners and customers through a seamlessly cost effective way for all parties involved.

“We understand the unique needs of Small businesses, and our solutions are designed to help you manage your finances more effectively. Our services include: financial inclusivity for unbanked businesses an lower SMEs, helping small business owners run their own banking operations without having to join any big banks and pay additional bank charges” says Teboho.

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Through this app, he hopes to help small businesses resolve their cash flow challenges. We believe that at the back of us digitalising and enabling small businesses to have credible trading track records, they will be able to receive short-term funding in the form of loans from traditional lenders. This will help small businesses with much needed cash flow for both day to day running and their growth and subsequently, job creation.

“Zakhaa differs in a sense that there is nothing like it in the market for small business at the moment. No mobile payment machine/device currently does what we do. Even with similar application and business model, they are mainly for online payments, for customers already having credit cards and are not administered by small businesses. In our case, the power is given to small businesses. It’s the decision and prerogative of a small business owner to enter into a flexible payment arrangement with a customer, we are providing seem-less fintech to enable this to happen” says Teboho.

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Teboho hopes to expand Zakhaa services across South Africa and also expand their service offering and digital inclusion in rural areas, previously disadvantaged areas such  as townships and to markets beyond South Africa.  Some of the testimonials they have received during the testing phase was a handful of merchants who gave them great feedback. They have been on the road engaging clients and customers on the streets about how the app is helping their day to day business.

In May they will be launching a beta program with 100 merchants to test the other features followed by a mass launch around fourth quarter of the year which will be a national campaign to reach small businesses owners in areas where they lack digital inclusion. 

A great example of how Zakhaa works is if your car breaks down in the middle of the month, you need a mechanic to fix it, they say it will cost you R2000 but you don’t have R2000 you have R500 you can pay now and you will pay the remaining balance of R1500 over three months. The mechanic can capture this arrangement on our card payment machine, first processing the R500 deposit using the card payment capability on the machine and then the deferred payment is captured separately on the same machine.

Zakhaa affords users the chance to make a purchase and pay for it when they can afford it. Having  realised that small businesses lose billions of rands yearly in unpaid deferred payments for goods and services. People always ask for services or products and promise to pay part of or all the money due by the end of the month, which they never do and there is no collateral that a small business owner can rely on. Their earnings are based purely on trust with no records. This is how he saw a need to formalise this relationship but do it seamlessly in a cost-effective way for all parties involved.

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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