While most South Africans have put the devastating burning, looting and destruction of last year’s civil unrest behind them, Elizabeth can’t.
She’s one of many local people who run small, informal businesses as a means of survival. People like her literally depend on what they earn day to day to feed their families and pay school fees. They don’t have insurance or other financial safety nets in place to to help rebuild businesses ruined during the unrest. They have been left destitute and hopeless. And they don’t deserve this!
After getting a job as a cleaner, Elizabeth started selling cleaning products as a ‘side hustle’. Over time, she built her little business up until she was running a stall at a shopping centre full time.
But in July 2021, the centre was looted and burnt to the ground. All her products were stolen, as well as the small amount of cash she used to trade. In one day, Elizabeth lost everything that had taken her years to build.
Another small business owner who makes school uniforms, tracksuits and kids clothing also lost everything. “The building we worked in was burned to the ground,” she said. “My machines were destroyed, and all my fabric was burnt to ashes.”
Maria is a humble street vendor, who scratches a living selling her small stock of cool drinks, biltong, peanuts, chips and cakes every day. You’d think the looters would have spared her. But no – they took it all, as well as every cent she had on her, leaving her with no way of replacing the stolen goods.
These people are humble, hard working and determined. With absolutely no business skills or training, they managed to identify a gap in the market and turn it into an income-generating opportunity. These are the true entrepreneurs. And they deserve a hand up to help them get back on their feet.
And with your help, that’s what we’ll give them … through our Small Business Rescue initiative.
Last year, we identified, profiled and entered into agreements with 20 informal businesses severely affected by the rioting. Our goal is to equip, educate and coach the owners, so they can restore and rebuild their business … and make them even better than they would have been if the looting had never happened!
We’ve already secured 73% of the necessary funding. Business gap analysis has been done to see where improvements can be made, and the first grants for household expenses released – so that beneficiaries can focus on rebuilding their businesses without worrying about what their family is going to eat. Now we need to issue grants to cover the cost of re-stocking and rebuilding, and the start of our business course and coaching programme.
And we’re hoping other caring South Africans … people like you … will want to be part of it. Your donation – made right now online – will enable us to complete the Business Rescue Project – and get 20 deserving entrepreneurs back in business.
There’s also something in it for you! As a registered non-profit, we issue Section 18A Tax Certificates for all donations received. By submitting your Certificate with your SARS return you can reduce your tax liability by up to 10% of taxable income.
Plus, if you are a business owner or manager yourself, you can donate your BEE spend (specifically Enterprise Development) and earn points to the value of your donation.
So please, will you help people like Elizabeth rebuild their businesses and their lives? If we join together, we can get South Africa working again!