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Foundation contributes to support for small businesses in South Africa during the covid-pandemic
16 February 2021

Foundation contributes to support for small businesses in South Africa during the covid-pandemic

Aside from the number of infections, the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are also huge in South Africa. Unemployment in South Africa has skyrocketed once again in the last few months. 1.5 million people have lost their jobs. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has decreased by 16% between the first and second quarters of 2020 and the economy has shrunk by at least 7.2%. Especially the low-income market has been hit hard. For most people working within this market, it is not possible to carry out their work from home or via Zoom.

GEM (Going the Extra Mile) is a mobile platform founded in 2012 and which has been supported by Zorg van de Zaak Foundation from 2014 to 2016. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GEM initiated a project focussed on the development of innovative financial and socioeconomic tools in South Africa. The aim of the project is to help get the economic activity of small businesses started again during the pandemic. Partly thanks to the extra contributions of Zorg van de Zaak Foundation, GEM has been able to carry out the following actions in 2020 to support the low-income market:

1. The Saveabusiness campagne

In collaboration with various South African artists, such as Black Coffee and Laduma Ngxokolo, GEM has set up a campagne. Over 800.000 Rand has been raised. GEM has used this money to support 22 small businesses, 1 cultural organisation and 3 NGOs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Development of GEM Pay mobile wallet

In collaboration with the GIG Cooperative Bank, the existing digital platform developed by GEM was improved and expanded with, among other things, user access to WhatsApp, the possibility to pay in supermarkets and the option to carry out payments worldwide. With these updates of the GEM pay mobile wallet, small businesses are allowed access to payment methods during the pandemic.

3. World Clean-up Day

GEM believes that socio-economic development starts with societal involvement. In order to carry out a positive message during a pandemic, GEM took the lead in World Clean-up Day in South Africa. By working together and carrying out positivity, the community was stimulated to commit to their self-sustainability. This is very important during a pandemic.

For 2021, GEM is already planning various activities to support small businesses in South Africa.