James Matshubeng feared that his hard work in securing his first big contract would come to nought because he did not have the funds to complete the project – until the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) stepped into help him.
With the help of a R100 000 loan from the agency Matshubeng – who owns IT firm Matoto Technologies – was not only was he able to complete the R400 000 contract, but was able to complete the contract two months ahead of schedule.
The contract was to fit a classroom at a Midrand primary school with about 40 computers, a server and proper wiring equipment.
“I was getting increasingly nervous as the deadline for the school’s project was set for August this year, but by April I had still not started,” says the IT entrepreneur who used his 10 years’ experience in this industry to start his own business in 2009.
He realised that he was short of money to purchase stock from the supplier.
“My problem was that I had absolutely no money to even start working on the project.
I let the school know that I applied for funding from Sefa,” says Matshubeng.
The school supported him by providing half – about R200 000 – of the total operations costs.
It was while scrambling for a way to secure a loan in January, that Matshubeng phoned the Presidential Hotline to seek advice.
The hotline referred him to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) who in turn referred Matshubeng to Sefa’s Johannesburg office.
He made an appointment with the agency right away.
It was at this point that things started looking up for the entrepreneur.
“That’s when the ball started rolling. After linking with Sefa, I only had to submit the standard financial statements, an existing business plan after filling in the loan application form before returning it via e-mail,” he says.
Within two weeks of contacting Sefa, the agency responded by inviting the business owner for an interview with one of its officials.
After just three months his loan was approved, enabling Matoto Technologies to more than just deliver on its contract with the school. He admits that the application process took longer than he expected, but that in the end he was still glad that he had applied.
“By July I was able to start and finish installing proper wiring and equipment on one of the school’s classroom and turn it into a fully-functioning computer laboratory,” he says.
“After completing the school contract I suddenly received more orders from people wanting to use my services,” he says.
Following the successful conclusion of the contract Matshubeng was also able to buy a Toyota , in addition to the one he already had, which he branded with his company logo.
“My turnover has also jumped from R5 000 to about R10 000 per month.”
For a man who used his local library as a base to do research, Matshubeng has big plans to open up satellite shops across the country which will target small businesses in need of IT services.
Sefa – which was established in 2012 after a merger of the South African Micro Apex Fund, Khula and the Industrial Development Corporation’s small business lending portfolio – assists small businesses with funding of between R500 and R5 million.
- For more information, visit www.sefa.org.za.