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Willowton Group & Al Baraka Bank Aim to Raise R500m for SMME’s Crippled by COVID-19

A group of business led by the Willowton Group and Al Baraka Bank have joined forces with the aim raising R 500 million to assist small, medium and micro Enterprises (SMMEs) that have been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. 

The organizations have provided an immediate lifeline to SMME’s through the creation of the Giving for Hope Foundation (GFHF).

Speaking at the webinar media launch of the GFHF on Wednesday, CEO of the Willowton Group Mahomed Zubeir Moosa says the aim is to launch with R100 million with the goal of raising R500-million within the next few weeks.

Moosa says that a combined loan of R85 million from the Willowton Group and its shareholders, together with R10-million funding by Al Baraka Bank and R5-million from the South African Muslim Charitable Trust provided the start-up capital for the trust.

“This will be split into small loans which will be effective for two years. Businesses will only need to begin to repay the loans, in 12 monthly instalments, after the first year. The loan will be interest-free, profit free and admin-cost free basis.”

Moosa says that while the loans would be open to all SMME’s irrespective of sector, race, gender or religion, it will not be advanced for passive income type businesses such as property investment or alcohol or gambling related business.

Al Baraka Bank CEO Shabir Chohan says the South African economy is being exceptionally hard-hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are confident that this will make a considerable contribution towards national efforts to save South Africa’s business community.”

As all loans are expected to be repaid to the GFHF by the end of December 2022, the trust will repay loans to contributors and cease operating by February 2023.

Faizel Patel

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

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