If pandemics and lockdowns have taught us anything, it’s that the real heroes aren’t who we thought they were. We’re not only talking about the doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re talking about the small businesses that we rely on to employ us, feed us, transport us, keep our hairdos under control and that make our lives better every day.
These #BudgetRealHeroes are the reason we created a R6 million Business Relief Fund. 60 Budget Business Insurance customers each received up to R100 000 to help keep the lights on during lockdown, and the doors open after. Because even heroes need a little support sometimes. Here are some of their stories.
Towards the end of lockdown, most people were hiding their hairdos (or hairdon’ts) as far as possible from conference calls video icons. That’s because hair salons, like G2G Hair in Wynberg, were some of the last businesses to be permitted to reopen their doors.
But like a true hero, Nicky, the entrepreneur behind G2G Hair, never lost hope. With the relief fund money she got from Budget Business Insurance, she plans to catch up on rent and even do a few upgrades to improve her beauty offering. She urges other struggling business owners to keep believing and working, especially when times are tough.
When you’re as versatile as a bakkie, you don’t let something as mundane as a global pandemic stop you from entrepreneuring like a boss. So, when lockdown slowed Nathi Mzimela’s goods transport business to a crawl, he did what South Africans do best. He made a plan, adding humans to his list of transportable goods.
Lockdown has taught Nathi how to be agile, and to be ready for unexpected new opportunities when they arise. He aims to use his Budget Insurance SME relief fund money to settle bills and propel Ubuntu Multi Services over the bumpy road ahead.
The Millery Clarence
Having a restaurant-slash-bakery is one thing. Having a restaurant-slash-bakery that depends on tourism is another. Having a restaurant-slash-bakery that depends on tourism during lockdown… well, that’s a serious challenge, to put it lightly. Especially if you pride yourself on job creation, as Gregory van Deventer, the owner of The Millery in Clarence, does.
Like so many, Gregory fell behind with payments as a result of lockdown restrictions. But with the Budget Insurance SME relief fund money he received, his mountain of unpaid bills will soon be a distant reflection in the rear-view mirror, as he works to get his staff and bottom-line back to where they belong.
PMB Backpackers Lodge
There’s no place like home, until you’re not allowed to leave it for weeks on end. And people stuck at home means people who can’t visit your backpackers lodge, which means no more business, which means falling behind on rent and having to move out of your personal home.
Whoever said business isn’t personal should be locked up at home, permanently. Fortunately, help arrived just in time for Talisha Naidoo and her family business, PMB Backpackers Lodge. She has a whole list of plans for her Budget Insurance SME relief fund money, including paying bills, renovating and investing in some advertising. Her wise words to others? “This too shall pass.”
Keagan’s Shuttle and Transport
When your business is school and church transport, a lockdown without school or church gatherings can be pretty devastating. But not if you’re as tough and resilient as Mark Appies, the driving force behind Keagan’s Shuttle & Transport.
When help finally arrived in the form of the Budget Business Insurance relief fund, Mark got straight back to working on recovering lost ground. His advice to businesses in the same position is to hold onto whatever is left of your business. Because tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
St Helena Bay has seen its share of storms, but nothing as fierce as the Covid-19 pandemic. Luckily, Melody van Rensburg, owner of Oppikaai Restaurant, is as solid as the rocks that line the Atlantic coast. Possibly because she’s used to weathering storms, like living with disability, and running a business on nothing but hard work and faith.
Thankfully, the sun always shines again, and ‘til then Melody has made good use of her Budget Insurance SME relief fund money to pay for the necessary protective gear and cleaning supplies she needs to keep Oppikaai’s doors open.
Ubuntu Multi Services
There’s a piece of cloth entrepreneurs like Sam Maleka are cut from. A very tough and flexible piece of cloth. And in tough times, which these most definitely are, that type of resolve and resilience is exactly what it takes to carry the burden of keeping a building maintenance business like Ubuntu Multi Services alive.
But that comes with sacrifices. Which is why Sam plans to use his Budget Insurance SME relief fund money to mend relationships with employees he couldn’t afford to pay. He might even have enough left to upgrade to a more trustworthy work bakkie. He urges anyone going through the same struggles to keep pushing ahead.
Truth and Life Ministry
If there ever were a hero who needed a hero, it’s the team of real-life angels at Truth and Life Ministry, a church in Phoenix. Church is usually the first place people go when times are tough. But with restrictions closing them down for two months and restricting church services to 50 people, churches are struggling too.
The money Truth and Life Ministry received from the Budget Insurance SME relief fund isn’t just an answer to Pastor Devan Pillay and his congregation’s prayers, it will also allow them to keep answering the prayers of the children, poor, and widowed in their community in the months ahead.
One minute your photography business is fully booked. The next, you’re sitting at home with nothing but time, and bills to pay. But if you’re Sifiso Dlamini, sitting is the last thing you do. He’s been using his time to learn new skills, brainstorm ideas, and plan the next steps for his business, Bathathe Photography, once events and functions resume and business picks up again.
Aside from really helping him out in a pinch, the Budget Insurance SME relief fund money he received will be used to upgrade his equipment and position himself to be even better after the pandemic. His advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to keep learning and never stop.
If Bonisiwe Mdingi were a drink, she’d be positivi-tea. Rather than allowing lockdown restrictions to lock her business’s doors, this serial entrepreneur thought outside the box of her catering, cleaning and gardening business to start offering phone and door cleaning services. Why? So she could keep her staff, of course. Because that’s what heroes do.
With the money she got from the Budget Insurance SME relief fund, Bonisiwe plans to buy the truckloads of PPE gear required to keep her business going well into the future. Her words to fellow entrepreneurs are to stay positive, and to look for the opportunities that come with challenging times.