Al Baraka Bank Gives Micro‐enterprise A Business Boost

26 July 2021

Al Baraka Bank has partnered with the national Department of Small Business Development to assist deserving and qualifying emergent enterprises with non‐financial support by linking them to the bank's clients who are willing to provide capacity‐building interventions.

The bank's Sustainability and Social Responsibility Officer, Ms Fathima Mohamed, said of its assistance: "Small, medium and micro enterprises have a massive role to play in this country's economy, but many ‐ and especially emergent micro‐enterprises ‐ struggle to gain traction, the consequence of difficulties relating to management skills, access to finance or the lack of early‐year support. We believe the promotion of accessibility and the provision of non‐financial support to be crucial to the growth and development of, especially, historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs."

Al Baraka Bank recently became part of the Department of Small Business Development's micro‐ finance project, when it was recently introduced to the department's listed small, medium and micro enterprises in KwaZulu‐Natal.

Ms Mohamed said: "The objective behind our involvement in the project is to assist deserving emergent businesses, affording qualifying entities non‐financial support by linking such enterprises with clients of the bank who may be positioned to carry small manufacturers' products, to assist them in obtaining preferential pricing from our clients with regard to raw materials and packaging and to help those interested obtain Halaal certification."

The bank's first micro‐enterprise support intercession, resulted in it assisting an emergent small business, owned by a Black woman, obtain SANHA halaal certification for the range of sauces it produces.

Durban‐based Incasa Foods, led by Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thabisile Danisa, is an agri‐processing business striving to excite people about authentic natural food and is committed to encouraging a regime of healthy eating in South Africa.

Ms Danisa said of the bank's support intervention: "Although established in 2015, ours is still a small business ‐ though viable and sustainable ‐ and we face challenges every day in the quest to grow and gain market‐share."

"We are, therefore, extremely grateful to Al Baraka Bank for its generous backing in obtaining halaal certification on our behalf, a move which opens wonderful new markets to us." She said Incasa Foods set out to encourage consumers to focus on their health and to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

"Our product offering includes a variety of sauces, curry and chilli pastes and atchar, with additional products currently in the pipeline. We also produce grain milks, which are made from delicious, fresh ingredients," Ms Danisa added.

Incasa Foods has supplied its sauce and paste range to Oxford Butchery stores since 2017 and its products are now also available at Spar Mega in Pinetown and at Chohan's Spices. It is also a supplier of Al‐Zujajah.

Ms Mohamed said the bank was also considering the implementation of a programme, in conjunction with the Department of Small Business Development, designed to introduce spaza shops - identified by the Department ‐ to a client wholesaler for business support and mentorship purposes.