Proudly South African, Proudly Finance Africa
By Karl Bauermeister
It’s not often in your life that you can say “we made history” but on 1st June, in amongst the chaos of a world pandemic, we launched Finance Africa, one of Africa’s first black women-owned specialised finance companies.
Having worked in this industry for 37 years, I know what a momentous occasion this is and how much value this unlocks for our economy and our country as a whole. I am excited to be part of this venture that combines over 120 years of industry experience with the passion and vision of a team that wants to – and can – change the South African specialised finance landscape.
What did we do?
We realised as Sizwe Asset Finance that to truly do justice to the opportunity that is specialised finance in South Africa and unlock the potential in the market, we needed to find the right partnership – a partnership that would help us leverage the decades of experience that have made our business a success. The right partner would help us access additional funding and open new markets, would understand our vision, align with our values, and believe in the opportunity we identified.
Finding the right partnership
One of the most important issues when it comes to partnering in any form is ensuring that the culture of one’s business and/or relationship is of a similar nature. This is the most crucial part of forming a relationship and one that will allow the balance of the issues dealt with, seem irrelevant. We have always surrounded ourselves over the many years with likeminded people whether it be funders, customers, or suppliers which always results in a winning recipe.
It took us a long time to find them but finally, we found Kutana. I would say the stars aligned but it was so much more than that; it is rare to meet a team whose values align so closely to ours, a team that understands the industry we operate in and clearly wants to make a difference to South Africa. It also helps that we have a great deal of fun working together. Kutana has pushed our boundaries and helped us to see a broader vision, from thinking only of asset finance to thinking of a world of specialised finance – and that’s the reflection of a great team.
Why did we do it?
Our focus was to ensure that, as a business, we remain relevant in terms of the markets we play in as well as ensuring that we adapt to the South African economy in its current form. We have to position ourselves based upon what the markets are asking for, which resides both within the private and public sectors alike. We also realised that, based upon our current model, it would not be sustainable in the long term and this had to be addressed. It was also clear that being black women-owned and a Level 2 contributor was also important to the markets we play in.
Why we chose Kutana?
The Kutana Group of Companies bring loads to the table with the most important being the culture of their business which blends effortlessly with ours. The team is also able to offer different dynamics in terms of market expansion which will see us expanding our focus and funding offering. As a collective, we have a solid end goal in mind – and that excites me in terms of our relationship with Kutana.
What does Finance Africa do?
Finance Africa aims to help public and private sector organisations grow and expand by providing specialised finance solutions. As a reliable source of funding and a Level 2 BEE company, we help businesses to free up cash flow for operational funding instead of having to tie unnecessary capital into acquiring assets whilst also contributing to their BEE procurement spend.
We are so proud of how we have evolved and are looking forward to what the future holds.