A case in point is their Invoice and Purchase Order Financing that the company launched in 2016. Letshego recently doubled their borrowing limit from P1 000 000, to now offer Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSEs) with up to P2 000 000 to enable them to fund their venture and project needs.
Letshego’s Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSEs) strategy supports micro and small businesses that would have otherwise struggled or failed to obtain short-term project financing and venture capital.
Letshego Botswana CEO, Fergus Ferguson said invoice and purchase order discounting solutions enable micro and small entrepreneurs to focus on the critical aspects of growing their businesses and promote long term sustainable economic growth and job creation through the development of a vibrant entrepreneurial sector, particularly as they manage through these challenging times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) represent a key sector for driving economic diversification and sustainable growth. According to the World Bank, SMEs make up 35 percent of GDP and contribute 75 percent to formal sector employment in Botswana. Micro and Small Enterprises therefore provide valuable economic potential for this country, to support poverty eradication, employment and economic diversification. Despite their valued economic contribution, Micro and Small Entrepreneurs often struggle to compete with high value projects, while often having to deliver projects under non-negotiable timelines.
For MSEs, cash flow remains one of the biggest challenges, and often the main reason why many small businesses fail within the first two years of starting up. The cash flow shortages experienced by MSEs are exacerbated by barriers to accessing finance, potentially leading to solvency problems. Typically, Micro and Small Entrepreneurs find it difficult to obtain bank loans and instead rely on internal funds, or cash from friends and family, to start up and initially run their enterprises.
Access to finance and formal lines of credit persist among the top challenges to Micro and Small Entrepreneurs growth, particularly in middle-income countries like Botswana, where SMEs are constrained due to a lack of collateral security. These challenges are further heightened by the stringent lending requirements and screening models used by most financial institutions, where lenders often charge high interest rates and services fees that Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSEs) are unable to afford due to their weak cash flow positions.
Letshego says its purchasing order financing provides a unique lifeline to Micro and Small Entrepreneurs as their purchase order and invoice financing is tailored to match the needs and risk profiles of small businesses in Botswana. Further, Letshego says MSE customers are only charged a highly competitive minimal interest fee on their borrowing. Additionally, their quick turnaround times present a welcome advantage for Micro and Small Entrepreneurs, as it helps to quickly alleviate their cash flow problems. Micro and Small Enterprises often have slow collections and receivables, which significantly affects how quickly they can make payments for operations and to their suppliers. Letshego Botswana’s Purchase Order Finance solution is available across Letshego’s 16 branch network.
Letshego Botswana says it aims to Improve Lives by focusing on their customers’ economic wellbeing to achieve a sustainable impact; through leveraging their financial solutions and their new and enhanced digital platforms to effectively support individuals and Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MSEs) and the Youth. This is a key priority towards achieving their ambition to create a world class retail finance services organisation.