Business

Telkom launches the SME Relief Project to rebuild small businesses

Small enterprises are crucial to SA’s economic growth and employ between 50% and 60% of the labour workforce

Businesses in need of funding can register on the Telkom website while South Africans can also use this online portal to make their pledges.
Businesses in need of funding can register on the Telkom website while South Africans can also use this online portal to make their pledges. 
Image: Supplied/Telkom

Recent civil unrest that led to the destruction of infrastructure, looting and violence forced many small and medium businesses (SMEs) and informal traders to close in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Telkom will help clean up, rebuild and grow SA by launching the SME Relief Project.

Small enterprises are crucial to SA’s economic growth and employ between 50% to 60% of the labour workforce.

Valued at R10m, the Telkom SME Relief initiative aims to provide aid to small business owners to rebuild their businesses and urge South Africans and the private sector to rally behind SMEs. 

Telkom Business customers

More than 11,000 Telkom Business customers have been affected by the unrest and Telkom is committed to helping these businesses rebuild and stay connected. Telkom Business will conduct a vetting process to identify the SMEs in need of assistance and will receive up to R20,000 to help rebuild their premises. 

“These Telkom customers will receive support in the form of payment holidays, rerouting their connectivity and the freezing of contract terms. The relief packages will enable our existing customers to continue to operate,” says Dumisani Bengu, chief commercial officer of Telkom Business.

Telkom Connects SA

“The looting and unrest came at a time when many SMEs are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and some small businesses are uninsured,” says Bengu. “We understand the importance of backing small business owners and we will use our resources to ensure small businesses get back up.”

  • Telkom will make a branding contribution of more than R5.6m and LTE offerings to 1,200 spaza shops in affected areas.
  • Telkom Financial Services will assist with mobile point-of-sale devices and loan propositions to businesses in the affected areas to allow them to resume trading.  
  • FutureMakers, the enterprise and supplier development initiative of Telkom Foundation, has pledged R1.5m to support ICT SMEs through grants to assist with rent, inventory and salaries. Through FutureMakers, Telkom will offer mentorship and training, including extending the Township Incubator programme to affected areas.
  • The Telkom Consumer unit’s brand ambassadors Seipati Twasa Seoke and Zizo Tshwete (Gauteng), and Dudu Khoza and Selby Mkhize (KZN) will help identify businesses that need assistance. They will support 20 businesses with 100GB of data over six months.

Pledge to rebuild our SMEs 

Businesses in need of funding can register on the Telkom website while South Africans can also use this online portal to make their pledges. 

Bengu says: “In the aftermath of the unrest, the government, business and communities are assessing the damage and are focusing on rebuilding communities that have been severely affected. We also urge responsible corporate leaders in SA, to support affected micro and small businesses and help them weather this period, rebuild and grow.” 

Telkom customers can also pledge by donating airtime or data. All the collected data and airtime will be redistributed to affected businesses.

To find out how you can help a small-business owner near you, visit the Telkom website.


This article was paid for by Telkom.