Since the lockdown began, questions have been asked about micro-entrepreneurs or rather those who work, but make just enough to get by month to month.

Among those folks are the people working within the gig-economy through platforms such as SweepSouth and LoadIt.

While firms have made arrangements to keep these people working and earning a living, the changing face of the economy means that they may be struggling during the pandemic and lockdown.

To that end FNB has announced that together with the Supplier Development Initative, it has made R8 million available through grant funding for micro-entrepreneurs.

“Given the countless relief interventions needed by SMEs across the different sectors, FNB is proud to partner with SDI in this initiative to help protect micro-enterprises against the antagonistic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on this market is significant as the country observes the risk-adjusted approach in lifting of lockdown regulations,” explains head of SME development at FNB Business, Heather Lowe.

The grant funding will be used to enable micro- entrepreneurs to repurpose and acquire assets as well as Personal Protective Equipment to enable them to deliver services in a safe manner in the current COVID-19 environment.

The goal of this initiative is to try to reduce the amount of relief needed by these entrepreneurs.

“The micro-enterprises are experienced at working with technology and play a much-needed role in ensuring that South Africa overcomes the COVID-19 predicament — from both a medical and socio-economic perspective. We need all the funding backing and rally other corporates to support us by joining us in this cause,” says co-founder of SDI Force, Brad Fischer.

FNB has said that SDI Force is already providing PPE and access to services for micro-entrepreneurs through enabler platforms.

Through SDI, waste-pickers are spraying taxi-ranks in Alexandria during lockdown giving them access to work during lockdown.

You can find out more about SDI’s platforms and how to get involved over at this URL.