In a first for the banking sector, Nedbank is offering business registrations together with black economic empowerment (BEE) affidavits or certificates, endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), in one seamless process for new businesses with an annual turnover of less than R10 million.
For the past four years the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has been working with the four major banks in South Africa to simplify the company registration process and other related services, enabling small businesses to succeed. The latest addition to the suite of services through this collaboration will enable bank clients to also apply for BEE affidavits or certificates valid for 12 months from the date of issue. This service is aimed at exempted microenterprises (EMEs).
In partnership with CIPC, Nedbank has become the first bank to offer BEE affidavits or certificates to its clients when they incorporate a company using the Nedbank portal. It is envisaged that this service will be expanded in future and will enable clients to renew their annual returns through the bank’s online platform.
BEE legislation exempts small enterprises with an annual turnover of less than R10 million from needing a BEE certificate. Instead, such enterprises need to have only an affidavit that includes ownership and turnover information. However, because EMEs prefer to have a formally issued document confirming their BEE status, the dti and CIPC agreed to offer an integrated service for company registration and issuing of BEE affidavits or certificates at no extra cost for EMEs.
During the past year the dti and CIPC reviewed their memorandum of agreement to allow bank partners to offer BEE affidavits or certificates. Nedbank employs stringent authentication measures and therefore the process is robust and in line with CIPC’s biometric verification requirements.
To date more than 500 BEE certificates have been issued to EMEs through the Nedbank portal.
Nedbank Head of Relationship Banking Sales, Alan Shannon, says Nedbank is always looking at innovating and providing practical solutions for small businesses, particularly startups, aimed at alleviating red tape and other obstacles in their quest to start a new business.
‘Through our ongoing client engagements, we are cognisant that it has become increasingly difficult for startups to take off. Through initiatives such as these, which form part of our Banking and Beyond offering, we hope to make it easier for entrepreneurs and startups,’ says Shannon.
Shannon says that, as a bank for business, Nedbank has successfully partnered with the government and business to help grow the economy and create jobs. One great story is Retail Relationship Banking’s partnership with the Expanded Public Works Programme as the preferred service provider for the Vuk’uphile Learnership Programme aimed at developing emerging contractors. This initiative has created more than 3 000 jobs.
Another way in which Nedbank has been assisting businesses has been through the Essential Guide for Small-business Owners, which contains key information that a business owner must know when starting up. Shannon says that, in an effort to further help small businesses, Nedbank has a suite of innovative solutions that makes it easier for business owners to run and grow their operations.
Shannon is particularly proud of the Nedbank-powered website SimplyBiz®. Launched in 2010 and revamped in February this year, it is a resource, support and networking portal aimed at small-business owners. ‘SimplyBiz® is more than a website. It’s a niche mentorship platform for business owners, driven by business owners. The aim is for business owners to provide authentic, firsthand guidance based on their own experiences of how to get more clients, sort out business operations, deal with staffing and finance issues and how to stay motivated throughout their journey,’ says Shannon.
Since the revamp SimplyBiz® has grown to more than 7 300 registered members. ‘Not only have we had tremendous uptake, but we have also had many revealing discussions with members around the assumptions made in business, the challenges they face and the solutions they come up with,’ he adds.
As added support, business owners can, until 15 December 2017, get expert answers to their questions within 24 hours.
‘Through the ongoing partnership with the CIPC, Nedbank is proud to help businesses take their endeavours to the next level,’ concludes Shannon.