It was disappointing to read in The Village News of 21 August (There is opportunity in this crisis) that loans to Siyakha projects have “largely dried up”. This is such a worthwhile initiative to build relationships and grow businesses that it deserves support.

We have recently experienced unrest and disruptions in Hermanus and this is one way for concerned residents, and indeed large businesses who were affected by the unrest, to build bridges and to make a difference for as little as R500 – and this in the form of a LOAN, not a donation. You actually get your money back!

World-wide examples of this microfinance lending are the Grameen Bank, Kiva, and the Small Enterprise Foundation Agency in Limpopo Province. All of these schemes report repayment percentages of 98% or more.

Siyakha has sifted, sorted and studied these schemes and has come up with a unique, tailor-made scheme for Hermanus. If this is successful it could be a blueprint for other towns in South Africa to follow with positive spin-offs for individual entrepreneurs and for the economy.

If you invest in the scheme, you help someone to grow their business, to employ one or more persons, to gain confidence, develop self-esteem and build a better future for themselves and their families. The Borrower feels good. The Lender feels good. It’s a win-win situation and a challenge to the Hermanus community.

The best way to describe the Siyakha initiative is as follows:

HOW SIYAKHA WORKS

How to get an interest-free loan – The Borrower

• A small business operator identifies the need for extra capital to grow their business.
• Provided they have a bank account and have a viable business enterprise, they approach Siyakha for an interest-free loan.
• They can obtain a Loan Application form through the Grootbos Foundation, the Youth Café in Zwelihle, LED offices in the area or from Olwethu Petros, 462 Jinie Street, Zwelihle.
• Applicants submit a completed application form with supporting documents and are then invited to present their proposal to an adjudication panel of Hermanus Siyakha.
• If the project is approved, it is advertised on the Hermanus Siyakha website, www.HermanusSiyakha.org.za inviting Lenders to support the project with loans of a minimum of R500.
• Once the loan is fully funded, then a Mentor (an experienced businessperson) will be allocated to the project and, together, the entrepreneur and the Mentor will finalise the loan details, including how much of the loan will be repaid monthly and over what period.
• If the Mentor feels that the applicant would benefit from some business training this will be arranged with the Grootbos Training Academy.
• The period over which the loan will be repaid and the size of each monthly repayment will be agreed in a written contract.
• No surety is required to secure the loan.
• The Mentor will work with the borrower for the full term of the loan to ensure the viability and sustainability of the business.

How to lend money to a project – The Lender

• Go to the website www.hermanussiyakha.org.za and select a project that appeals to you and with which you would like to be involved by advancing some loan capital.
• Consider the potential of the project and select one you want to support.
• Pledge your loan – minimum R500.
• When the full amount required has been successfully crowd-funded you will be asked to transfer your loan amount to the Hermanus Siyakha bank account. 100% of this amount will go towards the project you have selected.
• The website will keep you updated on the progress of your project and indeed all the projects.
• At the end of the loan period, when the loan amount is fully repaid, you will be notified that your money is available.
• You can then either take the cash or find another worthwhile project and keep your loan rotating in the system.

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