Editor’s note: This blog post was submitted by co-founder, and CEO of getlion, Mathew Marsden.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. For most small businesses, 2020 has been like a punch to the face. But the best entrepreneurs don’t stay down for long. They Retool, Rethink, Reconnect and do whatever it takes to win the fight.
It’s also in times like these that new ideas emerge to change the way that things are done. And new businesses, like getlion, are building innovative ways to help entrepreneurs succeed.
Introducing getlion, a proud Yoco Partner and South Africa’s newest “super-app”. A one-stop platform built to help entrepreneurs successfully start, manage and grow their businesses – and the first app that rewards users for running their businesses the right way.
But first, the backstory:
At getlion, we believe that entrepreneurship is the “answer”.
Joseph Schumpeter (a famous American economist) put it well when he said that entrepreneurs are “a force for creative destruction, sweeping away established ways of doing things and replacing them with others that the market values”.
And if entrepreneurs are the drivers of change, then small businesses and SMMEs are the vehicles for the journey.
According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency Report Q3 2019, there were 2.65m SMMEs in South Africa. Amazingly, it’s those same businesses that employ 11.6m people – about 70% of the country’s employed population.
However, there is a worrying trend emerging in our country. The number of new businesses being created is shrinking year-on-year. According to the same SEDA report, new SMMEs only increased by 97,000 between 2018 and 2019, a sharp decrease from the previous year’s 300,000. With formal unemployment peaking at 30.1% in June 2020 – the verdict is simple. We need to create more businesses, and fast!
But there’s a crux – an unavoidable truth that needs addressing. New businesses continue to fail at alarming rates with research indicating that less than 50% make it past two years. That’s alarming! And that statistic prompted the key question, “why?”
Why are new businesses failing and what are the problems/barriers that they’re facing? The answers became the foundation of our mission at getlion.
After conducting research with hundreds of business owners – and supported by countless local and international studies – we uncovered some global truths. Whilst experience and the state of the economy are influencers of an entrepreneur’s success, the true hurdles that people need to overcome are:
- Access to funding,
- Access to markets,
- Gaps in knowledge
- and Access to the right tools/services (and when to use them)
But surely one could simply “Google” the answers to these questions, right? Wrong! Despite all of the existing resources, programs, government support and online content available at the tap of a finger – new businesses continue to fail. It’s clear that entrepreneurs need more than just information, they need practical support, guidance and ways of doing things. To solve our country’s entrepreneurship crisis, the focus has to shift from simply helping people start businesses, to truly guiding entrepreneurs on their business journey so that they succeed over the long-term.
And that's why we created the getlion mobile app
Back to us. We’re a tech business, founded by entrepreneurs, on a mission to help other entrepreneurs succeed by removing their biggest obstacles. To do so, we’re building the country’s leading entrepreneur “super app” – a one-stop platform for solutions, and the first place that people will go to start, manage and grow their businesses.
We’ve built getlion on the following principles:
Access: It’s notoriously difficult (and often costly) for entrepreneurs to access funding, find new customers, discover the right knowledge and choose the right product/service (at the right time). It’s our mission to give entrepreneurs the solutions they need, as they need them.
Rewards: getlion is the first platform to reward entrepreneurs for running their business effectively. We do this to promote best practice, business compliance and ultimately, the framework to succeed.
Convenience: Entrepreneurs are busy people. The CEO – Chief Everything Officer – is responsible for more than they can handle, so we want to save them time. We conveniently aggregate solutions from the best providers in South Africa – like Yoco – in one place and deliver those in a simple, easy-to-navigate way.
Value. Entrepreneurs are extremely cost-sensitive and one of their key priorities is cashflow. So, entrepreneurs can access most of our (and our partners’) solutions at discounted pricing (like an extra R50 off a Yoco card reader).
Simplify Decision-Making: Every day, entrepreneurs are responsible for making countless decisions. When starting (or running) a business, you’ll be faced with “Which bank do I use? What about accounting software, marketing platform, office supplier, e-commerce platform? (and the list goes on)”. At getlion, our mandate is to simplify decision-making for entrepreneurs by doing the research and giving them these answers.
Community: Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. Community is the best safeguard against isolation and a much-needed source of encouragement, connection and learning. We’re passionate about creating connections between our users, and integrating them into the broader South African business community.
Launched in June 2020, the getlion mobile app offers entrepreneurs and small businesses a host of benefits and first-of-its-kind support, including:
- The first rewards program for entrepreneurs, with offers from Superbalist, Workshop17, OfficeBox, Netflorist, SweepSouth and Bolt.
- Discounted products/services from a vetted network of 30 industry-leading partners, including Yoco (and an extra R50 of your next Yoco device).
- A one-stop, Learning Library.
- In-app storage – for your most important company documents.
- Daily “news/markets/currency” feed
- Entrepreneur events calendar.
- A host of in-app tools, including logo design, website creation, company and B-BBEE registration, opening a bank account, marketing, idea validation and more.
- Upcoming features include: Funding Portal and a first-of-its-kind Marketplace to promote your business.
- Covid support providing free accounting/legal consulting to 1000 qualifying small businesses.