Data;  2019’s buzzword. Coined ‘the new oil’. Touted as ‘the way of the future’. “Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore

BUT;

The past 18 months have been marred by one data scandal after another. Netflix’s documentary “The Great Hack” highlighted the dark side of data, and how it can be used to influence the most susceptible of people.

Right here on our own doorstep, we have watched and listened to polarising opinions regarding the data war between Liberty Life and Discovery. So the question begs… Where do you draw the line between fair use and abuse?

The way we see it is pretty simple:

There’s a big difference between using data for the good of a business or political campaign, and using data for the good of the consumer, country, planet or environment.

In South Africa, we have one of the largest unemployment rates in the world https://mg.co.za/article/2019-07-30-unemployment-rate-at-29-statssa. Ironically, the use of data also shows that SMEs are the answer to this critical problem, however SMEs are the least understood and, therefore, most neglected sector in the country.

In order for South Africa’s economy to grow, and unemployment rates to fall, SMEs need to surely thrive? Eight years ago, our founder, Karl Westvig, realised the very real need for a funding product that was especially tailored to the SME sector and its many nuances.

Back in 2011 funding for SMEs was hard to come by, largely because traditional lenders treat the sector in  the same way they would big corporates. We needed to look at things differently. We delved deeper into the data, read between the lines, and found a solution that really worked for a long neglected and fundamental business sector.

Here’s how we embrace data to better serve our customers:

Responsible data sourcing and segmentation:

Our data starts its journey via interest shown in Retail Capital on our various online, physical and sales channels, and via our sales partners. Each line is segmented by how we sourced it, in order to allow for easy referencing and analysis. This data is mined, nurtured and grown, internally, through relationship building and an enrichment processes allowing us to build substantial and meaningful history surrounding a particular customer. This, in turn, gives us the depth of data we need to best serve our clients and their individual needs.

Identifying unique solutions:

Our flagship product is one that SMEs generally require when they have a dire need or have incredibly short time frames. Our retrospective analysis, harvested from our various data sources, ensures that, when an industry is under pressure, we can be proactive by starting the conversation ahead of these known industry downturns, meaning that we are there when our clients need us the most. Furthermore, one of the key features of this product is that it follows business’s turnover, seasonality, so when income is lower we adjust the repayments to suit this reality. We aggregate data, provided to us by our clients, to ensure that this promise is always upheld. This allows our merchants to trade with peace of mind, knowing that their payments will always be affordable and tailor-made to their unique situations at any given time.

Sticking to an unwavering code of ethics:

Naturally, it is therefore extremely important for businesses to apply strict ethical practices when dealing with data. In the current data landscape in South Africa, section 14 of the Constitution (the right to privacy, including protection against search and seizure and the privacy of correspondence), is one of the only laws that protects our personal data. Although the contravention of this is very difficult to prove, the potential reputational risk, should a data breach be made public, in itself is enough to cause irreversible damage to a brand and businesses who practice poor data management. We are fanatical about our clients and the trust they instill in us to deliver quality data security and ethical data practices.

A no-compromises stance on quality and trusted technology:

We have invested in a CRM system that allows us Cloud storage for our data . With this world-class system comes some of the most robust and advanced technology for internet security in use today. Over-and-above this, we make use of multiple degrees of security to further secure our data. This means that our servers can only be accessed on site, or if configured by our IT support company, resulting in extremely high protection of our data.

Since 2011, we have provided businesses with innovative, flexible and convenient alternatives to traditional business loans. Business owners still identify access to working capital as the single biggest challenge that they are faced with. Being responsible for 50% of the country’s GDP and contributing to over 65% of employment, we are devoted to partnering with small to medium-sized businesses to grow the South African economy. This is where we can help and we are proud to have partnered with more than 15,000 SMEs in providing funding of more than R2.5b billion to date.

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