When you walk into a special small business in Cape Town, South Africa, that teaches children how to cook, you see cheerful lime green walls lined with stacks of plastic mixing bowls as children suited in aprons and paper chef’s hats sprinkle candy bits onto cookie dough.
Founder Mondisa smiles as she describes the club’s weekday cooking classes and weekend birthday parties, where budding young chefs master basic techniques, learn to follow recipes, and enjoy tasting the final tasty products they’ve made themselves.
But running the business isn’t as easy as pouring the ingredients into the mixing bowl, Mondisa explains struggles accessing funding. First, she pursued bank loans. However, as a new entrepreneur in the beginning stages of operating her project, she couldn’t provide the answers yet to the bank’s questions about the initiative’s’ performance.
“They ask ridiculous things,” she says, shaking her head. “I have been with the same bank since I started my business, and they won’t even fund me.”
Then Mondisa heard about a CFC-supported organization that is an online platform for small business lending.
“I do my applications online. It’s a very quick process. They ask for bank statements and then in a couple of hours, they call you, ask you some questions, and then you’ve got your funding,” she points out to the ease of the process.
Traditional financial service providers have long overlooked entrepreneurs like Mondisa. But CFC-supported organizations like the one she utilized, hone the power of alternative data to make quick lending decisions for these entrepreneurs in their infancy. By investing in fintech startups that bring essential financial tools to the underserved CFC-supported organizations provide entrepreneurs with essentials to pursue their goals.
As one CFC-supported organization CEO explains, working capital is the lifeblood of a small business: “Giving them access to finance allows them to build their business… and as the company grows, it gives them the ability to employ more people [and] increase job creation.”
Over the course of a year, Mondisa experienced this growth for her business after receiving several loans from such a CFC-supported charity. She says these funds were key to helping her manage her cash flow as she purchased supplies for the cooking classes and found a dedicated space to rent.
With her business continuing to grow, Mondisa looks forward to when she will qualify for one of those larger bank loans. She hopes to hire more staff to dedicate to planning for the future, such as exploring the possibility to expand to other cities throughout South Africa. Smiling again she says, “There’s a lot of potential, growth-wise. I’m very excited, and so is my family. Whenever things are tough I always think, ‘You can’t give up!’ Being a small business owner has its challenges, but it’s also very rewarding as well.”