An innovative solution for small and medium businesses struggling to access working capital for growth
Merchant Capital provides micro-enterprises and SMEs in South Africa that are unable to access traditional loan facilities with unsecured cash advances. Qualifying SMEs receive a lump sum payment with in 24-48 hours in exchange for a fixed percentage (5-15%) of future debit/credit card turnover. Merchant Capital addresses South Africa’s growing SME financing gap, an impediment to economic growth and job creation, through unsecured working capital advances. While there are no restrictions on what the capital may be used for, Merchant Capital encourages qualifying businesses (55% food & beverage; 15% hair & beauty) to use the funds for growth and expansion. In the absence of a fixed repayment term or collateral claims, Merchant Capital has nothing to gain from high effective interest rates that overburden clients. Since extending its first advance in 2013, Merchant Capital has expanded its client base an at exponential rate, approving 70% of applicants, while maintaining a gross margin of 70% and a default rate of less than 2%.
In 2013, the Capricorn Capital Group invested in Merchant Capital. Capricorn Capital Group is associated with the broader Yellowwoods Group, which includes Hollard Insurance, Clientèle, Nando’s and Direct Axis.
In late 2015, financial services investment group Rand Merchant Investment Holdings acquired a 25.1% stake in the business.